It’s no secret how much admiration Pau Gasol has for Kobe Bryant and vice versa. Both players have played key roles in three straight NBA Finals appearances, including back-to-back championship victories. As a result, Gasol has permanently cemented himself into Los Angeles Lakers‘ history, possibly even receiving consideration to retire his jersey sometime in the future.
With that said, Gasol’s statement regarding his future with the Lakers makes a ton of sense. In the latter years of his career, leaving the Lakers would mainly be to chase after a few more championships before he ultimately retires. Today, it does not seem as if the Lakers will be contending anytime soon, especially with Bryant’s future in terms of health is everything except certain.
Furthermore, through all of the adversity and trade talks, Gasol is in fact still giving heavy consideration at the idea of re-signing with the Lakers. The duo’s bond was originally formed when Los Angeles traded for Gasol back in 2008 in exchange for Kwame Brown and a few thrown-ins. Basically, Los Angeles was able to unload their trash and turn it into, at the time, the best skilled big man in the game. Of course, one of the second round picks in the trade turned out to be Marc Gasol, but looking back on it, Los Angeles does this trade 100/100 times.
Continuing on that point, if Gasol was never acquired, Bryant may not have even been a member of the Lakers at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season. Bryant constantly vocalized his displeasure with the mediocrity of the team, and even threatened to demand a trade if the issue was not immediately resolved. Therefore, Gasol acted as sort of a savior for both Bryant and fans, as he not only was the convincing factor for Bryant to stay, but also a vital piece to capturing those titles.
In possibly his final exit interview as a member of the team, Gasol addressed a question by directly explaining the impact Bryant will have on his decision stating, “I know that he is going to be one of the main reasons why I would come back to the team.” It’s encouraging news to say the least, since Gasol is a favorite amongst Lakers fans. It may not be the deciding factor in free agency, but it definitely appears to be a major one.