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Kobe tells Laker management to clarify Pau Gasol plans

Feb 20, 2012, 2:05 AM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Pau Gasol was almost shipped out to Houston before the season even started in the eventually-killed deal that would have brought Chris Paul to the Lakers.

Last week there was talk of Gasol to Minnesota (an unlikely deal). Sunday came the report that Derrick Rose wants the Bulls to try and get Gasol (because the Lakers would take back Carlos Boozer?). Every day it seems there is another Gasol trade rumor. Even though GM Mitch Kupchak says the Lakers are not likely to make a trade (keep on reading, we get to that).

Saying it’s tough for a player to be invested and really give his all when he doesn’t know if he’ll be there tomorrow, Kobe Bryant called on Lakers management to decide what is up with Gasol after the Lakers ugly loss to the Suns Sunday night. This is via the best of the Lakers beat writers, Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.

“I wish management would come out and either trade him or not trade him,” Bryant said after the Lakers’ loss in Phoenix on Sunday night.

Bryant said his preference is the Lakers do not trade Gasol, citing the team’s “foundation” is in place with Bryant, Gasol and “the emergence of Andrew (Bynum).”

“Can’t have one of our pillars not knowing if he’s going to be here,” Bryant said.

Kobe said the right thing — it plays well in the locker room — even if it is meaningless.

The natives are getting restless around a Lakers team that is clearly not a contender as currently constructed. They got rid of Lamar Odom for a trade exception, they have three quality players and no real depth after that. They need a point guard.

And frankly, nobody really trusts Jim Buss — son of Jerry and the guy running the show now — to get it done. Lakers fans trusted Phil Jackson (even if the male members of the Buss family didn’t love him) and now all traces of Phil have been wiped from of the organization. The younger Buss does not have the track record fans (or anyone) trusts. He has to earn it.

Which is why it’s impossible to say what will happen with Pau Gasol. The Lakers might trade him, but only if they can get a truly elite player back. They’d move him to get Chris Paul, not Derrick Williams and a couple picks. There’s nobody outside of the one guy the Bulls would not move for anyone (Derrick Rose) the Lakers would trade Gasol for on the Chicago roster.

Which means Kobe can say this and it plays well in the locker room — he sounds like the leader. The guy trying to bring the team together. He has his teammates’ backs. And maybe this helps Gasol’s attitude.

This didn’t weaken the Lakers trade position — Gasol is what Gasol is on the market. The Lakers want to win a ring again in the next couple of years and it’s more likely they do that with Gasol than without, unless he is used in a trade to bring another star at a needed position (read: point guard).

But Kupchak told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated not to expect a trade.

“Of course we’ll talk to a lot of teams [about trades], like everybody else does, leading up until the trade deadline to see if there is a way to improve the team,” Kupchak said. “But the likelihood is that this is the team that’s going to finish into the playoffs. That’s just the way it normally works, but we’ll see.”

If this is the team the Lakers send to the playoffs, the second round would be the best they could do. But that doesn’t mean Gasol gets moved.

  1. rkel10 - Feb 20, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    And Kobe is right, get a decent PG (like Sessions) and maybe a bench player or two and this team has a very strong chance of competing. The foundation IS there.

  2. vstyle23 - Feb 20, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    Ok, I tell you what, Bynum and Gasol for Dwight straight up. Now to get Kobe to approve it. We in Orlando will take that deal. We’ll even through in a Big baby for Peace. Yeah

    • teehov843 - Feb 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      That trade won’t work. Salaries have to match up. It’s a business not a video game!

      • florida727 - Feb 20, 2012 at 11:07 AM

        Not on this particular post, but I get a kick out of everyone that says the Bulls should get (fill in the blank) in exchange for Boozer. I’m a Chicago fan, and I think the Boozer deal is the worst one the team has made in decades, but in order to get rid of the guy, you have to find someone stupid enough to take him!!! Go out on a limb here: probably ain’t gonna happen.

      • 00maltliquor - Feb 20, 2012 at 9:55 PM

        @ florida727

        “…you have to find someone stupid enough to take him!!! Go out on a limb here: probably ain’t gonna happen.”

        The Magic were stupid enough to take on Gilbert Arenas. AND Hedo Turkey… I’m gonna go out on a limb here: anythings possible! lol

  3. rooney24 - Feb 20, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    While I know it says a trade to Minn would be doubtful for Williams and a couple of picks, as a Wolves fan I don’t want Gasol. Don’t get me wrong, Gasol is a very good player. But, I don’t think he is the type of piece you add to a rebuilding team. He is a player you add to a team that needs one more piece. I like the way Williams has played in his limited minutes. He will get more opportunities next season after Beasley’s contract is up and he moves on. Gasol would have to play slightly out of position at the 5 in Minn and that would steal time from Pekovic. Before you laugh at that notion, check what Pek has been doing the last couple of weeks after moving into the starting lineup.

    • Justin - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      Pektacular!

    • ludachrisgsx - Feb 20, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      Being a Wolves fan, would you consider trading Rubio, Pekovic, and Williams for Bynum and Barnes? Just curious. I think Bynum/Love would be a better pairing than Gasol/Bynum due to the style of play. You give up some big potential at PG for a different kind of potential at C. And you get cap space with Barnes and more flexibility when you get rid of Beasley.

      Or, how about this trade:

      http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=862mjt6

      That just adds in Beasley for Ebanks and Blake. Risky for both sides but pretty interesting too.

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:12 PM

      I’ve always liked Pek’ and thought he was severly under-used. That being said the fact that you said Gasol would steal time away from Pek’ would make most people have to read that line a few more times but maaaan, he’s really been beasting as of late. If it wasn’t for the Linfatuation maybe there might be something said about him on here. He’s really been puttin’ in work.

  4. omniusprime - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Good to see Kobe mouth of art the idiotic way the Lakers management team is handling Pau Gasol. I’m getting sick and tired of hearing about Pau getting traded away. I’d rather hear about Mike Brown getting canned and that fool Jim Buss getting replaced by his far smarter sister, Jeanie. So stupid to wipe away all vestiges of the Phil Jackson era so quickly. The Laker’s offense sure stinks compared to when it ran the Triangle which won 5 titles for the organization.

    Fire Jim Buss and Mike Brown!

    • veryrevvy - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      Amen!!

  5. AlohaMrHand - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Trade for Nash.

  6. deshackle - Feb 20, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Maybe the better question is what can the Lakers get for Kobe Bryant.

  7. losangelasbasketball - Feb 20, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Gasol needs to go, you cant put the genie back into the bottle.

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