Will Kobe Bryant Prevent The Pau Gasol Trade?

By Kaylyn Neely
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol has been taken off the active roster. He will not play Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets due tendinitis in both knees and is considered day-to-day.

This news comes at a very bad time for Gasol as trade rumors seem like they could soon become a reality. ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has spoken to Gasol’s agent to let him know that the Lakers will explore possible trade scenarios if Gasol is unable to adjust to Mike D’Antoni‘s new system.

However, Kupchak might face a little resistance if he does start looking for a new power forward.

Just a few short months ago, the Lakers All Star big man was rumored to possibly be involved in a trade out of Los Angeles.

From across the ocean, these rumors were quickly shutdown. During the London Olympics, Kobe Bryant told a Spanish reporter, who questioned him about the Gasol trade, “As long as I’m there, he’s going to be there.”

And that’s all she wrote. Until now.

On Tuesday, Bryant again showed public support for Gasol by re-enforcing the comments he made in the summer. Bryant told ESPNLosAngeles.com: 

“I love Pau like a brother, I really do. I want him to dominate like I know he can.”

“I want him to dig in and be determined, not discouraged,” Bryant continued. “We should go to him more on the post because he can dominate from there as he has to the tune of two rings. I’m sure we will adjust and figure out a balance when he comes back healthy.”

“We’re not going to lose him,” Bryant said. “That’s just not going to happen. I’ve been around him long enough. I know how to deal with him.”

It’s very hard to imagine a situation in which Bryant’s wishes would be overturned to appease D’Antoni’s system. The shooting guard has serious influence over the Lakers management decisions. Just ask Shaq.

Regardless, of the possibly of Bryant defusing a trade involving Gasol, is there even a point to trading him? A healthy Gasol is a top three power forward.

Gasol’s long-range shot is especially good for a big man while Dwight Howard is average. However, shooting outside the paint is a very common problem with big men. The Lakers will be hard pressed to find another forward who can shoot like Gasol can. A situation where both Lakers big men can be fouled to prevent them from scoring can’t be better than the problems Gasol is having adjusting to a new coach.

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