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Pau Gasol says ‘it was difficult’ informing Kobe Bryant of his decision to join Bulls

Jul 19, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol had offers to re-sign with the Lakers that would have paid him more than he’ll make on the three-year, $22 million deal he eventually accepted to play for the Bulls.

But his decision wasn’t about money.

The Lakers are a long way from competing for an NBA title, while Chicago appears to be on the cusp of it. There’s no questioning that if Gasol valued winning, he made the right decision — but that doesn’t mean it made the job of informing Kobe Bryant of his choice any easier.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

“It was difficult,” Gasol told reporters when asked about informing Bryant of his decision to sign with the Bulls. “We have a close friendship. We’ve been through a lot together, and I’m sure I will miss him. But we talked to each other and our relationship goes beyond basketball and we’ll always have a friendship.

“It was difficult to talk to him, but he was very supportive and he understood. He just said I had to do what was best for me and what felt right for me and he was going to support me no matter what. That’s what friends and brothers do, and that’s what we are.”

Gasol and Bryant spent more than six seasons together and won two championships in that span, and Bryant was often Gasol’s biggest defender when his name swirled in trade rumors — an all-too-frequent occurrence over the last few seasons, which undoubtedly factored into Gasol’s decision.

Bryant has said he is happy with the effort the Lakers front office put forth this summer in free agency, but ultimately, they have little to show for it. Gasol is gone, and the only new pieces of any relevance are Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, and rookie Julius Randle — a group which doesn’t exactly scream playoffs, especially in the loaded Western Conference.

  1. sportsfan18 - Jul 19, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Shouldn’t have been…

    During the 27 games he was on the Lakers his first season and then the next four full seasons, Pau had a much higher win share per 48 min’s than Kobe and it wasn’t close, that included their title seasons.

    Pau’s win shares per 48 min’s those 4 seasons to Kobe’s

    08/09 Pau .223 win shares per 48 min’s
    08/09 Kobe .208 win shares per 48 min’s

    09/10 Pau .220 win shares per 48 min’s
    09/10 Kobe .160 win shares per 48 min’s (a lot less)

    10/11 Pau .232 win shares per 48 min’s
    10/11 Kobe .178 win shars per 48 min’s (big big gap)

    11/12 Pau .165 win shares per 48 min’s
    11/12 Kobe .132 win shares per 48 min’s

    Oh, and in their 2009 Finals win… Pau outplayed Kobe

    Pau .600% field goal percentage
    Kobe .430% field goal percentage

    Pau 132 offensive rating and a 99 defensive rating
    Kobe 111 offensive rating and a 100 defensive rating (lower is better for defensive rating)

    Kobe averaged 32.4 pts to Pau’s 18.6 pts and won the Finals MVP due to that.

    Kobe took 135 field goal attempts at 43% to Pau’s 60 field goal attempts at 60% to score more than Pau.

    Pau deserved more money from the Lakers than they offered him. Wonder why they didn’t have it available to give to him?

    • tsi431 - Jul 19, 2014 at 6:58 PM

      Wonder why they didn’t have it available to give to him?

      Because he is 34 years old and they are looking to sign the big FA’s in the next 2 years. It was either at this price, or not at all.

      • bong815 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:12 PM

        They didn’t have it because of the ridiculous contract they gave Kobe.

      • musician0785 - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        If they didn’t how were they able to offer Melo the max? Another case of people just making stuff up

    • rrhoe - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      sportsfan18: I really love reading your post dude,they are quite informative……….

      • musician0785 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:44 PM

        Informative in the way Fox news is informative

      • genericcommenter - Jul 19, 2014 at 9:54 PM

        He reports. You decide.

    • musician0785 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      Tell me again how the Lakers won championships because of the guy who couldn’t get a 50 win team out of the first round, and not the guy who won finals mvp TWICE, and won 3 before pau got there…..winshare…..how ridiculous

      • billtetley53 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        Poor pissy eyes, you mut be dehydrated from all of the cryingbyou do.

      • musician0785 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:49 PM

        ^^Not basketball related……something you accuse me of doing all the time…..

      • musician0785 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:52 PM

        Also ridiculously unfunny

    • realfootballfan - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      Yea, and you’re crazy if you think Pao was more important than Kobee on those teams. Pao in his prime was a half a star player. Kobee is the 2nd greatest 2 guard of the last 25 years. Ball hog, petulant, childish, somewhat crazy, but he’s a baller without a doubt and first ballot Hall of Famer.

    • musician0785 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      You ever think that the reason Pau shot such a high percentage is because of the attention paid to Kobe? Naw i guess not, that would be REASONABLE thinking, and not more Kobe trolling garbage essays…

    • AZ Dem - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      All your silly stats don’t win ball games. They don’t sell tickets. They are artificial constructs designed to allow people who really don’t understand the game to believe that they do.

    • urodaddy07 - Jul 19, 2014 at 9:59 PM

      the guy just said it wasn’t the money. he wanted to move on.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:04 PM

      Pau is underappreciated. He should’ve won Finals MVP in 2010. But Kobe was Dr. Buss’ personal project, so the Lakers are totally committed to him.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      Pau scored a lot of easy points while Kobe was being double and triple teamed. And therefore you think that Pau deserves more money and Kobe deserves less money. Right.

    • 5xchamp24 - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      After all that time spent looking up those stats, who do you think the fans are coming to the arena to see? Kobe or Pau?

    • nsideindy - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      Right. Any team could have won a championship if they had Pau Gasol. Keep spinning your numbers.

    • pondersucks07 - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      center will always have a higher shooting pct. than a Guard who shoots a lot of three’s. Not putting down Pau at all, But lack the defense mind set that Kobe had. In the long run Pau was what the Lakers needed at that tie to help them win, No one player can win a championship by themselves. The closest one I can remember was Bill Walton with the Portland Trail Blazers and Kareem Abdul Jabbar with the Milwaukee Bucks, I believe neither roster had elite players on them.

      • musician0785 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:29 PM

        Kareem had Oscar Robertson

    • redbaronx - Jul 20, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      @sportsfan18 – While stats are certainly relevant, you should not use them to guide your evaluations. The reason that Pau had those stats is the attention that defenses had to pay Kobe. Not the other way around.

      All of this is moot in any case. Neither of these players are top flight anymore, and the Lakers would have been better off without their salaries on the books. All marketing arguments aside for signing Kobe, from a basketball sense keeping Kobe at the money he was asking is probably a big mistake, and keeping Pau would have been an equally big mistake. I know Laker fans don’t like the idea of rebuilding, but that’s what the Lakers need to do now.

    • aldog83 - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:49 AM

      Thank you Pau.

      All Lakers Fans

  2. divan22 - Jul 19, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    People need to stop blaming Kobe’s contract for the Lakers inability to sign stars.

    Blame Kobe’s selfishness, not his contract. The Lakers still had PLENTY of money to throw at another superstar… it’s just that no superstar wants to play with a selfish, old, declining player who still insists on being the team’s #1 option. The shot distribution when Kobe had Dwight and Pau as teammates was disgraceful.

    Dwight left FOR LESS MONEY last year, Pau left FOR LESS MONEY this year. The only question left: when will the Kobe Klan realize their boy is the problem?

    • musician0785 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      When any of the guys who left for less money, wins a ring WITHOUT Kobe

      • k3nn3k - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        Actually Kobe couldn’t win it without Pau or Shaq. As much as Laker fans want to think it, Kobe can’t do it by himself, he never has. This year he’ll have nothing again.

      • musician0785 - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:45 AM

        who said he could?

      • apkyletexas - Jul 20, 2014 at 2:35 AM

        This is why there can’t be any doubt that Duncan has had a more impressive career than Kobe. Duncan never needed a second superstar to win any of his 5 titles. David Robinson was once a superstar, but had lost a lot of his athleticism by the time Duncan was drafted. Parker and Ginobili are international stars, but they have never been anywhere near the level of Shaq in his prime. Even when Duncan wasn’t winning titles, the Spurs were often grabbing the best record in the West and going to the conference finals. When Kobe wasn’t winning titles, his teams have sometimes missed the playoffs altogether.

      • borderline1988 - Jul 20, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        But Duncan’s teams were always terrific. SAS’ reserves could beat most starting lineups in the NBA. They didnt have another superstar, but they had 2 more perennial all-stars and a non-stop supply of incredible roll players.

        That’s what sets Lebron apart. He may not have the mental fortitude that Kobe has, but he is the one guy in the NBA who single-handedly makes any team into a championship contender. Neither Kobe nor Duncan are, or ever were, on that level. Stick Duncan or Kobe (in their primes) on the 2008 Cleveland Cavaliers, and they’d be hard-pressed to make the playoffs.

        I’m not detracting from their greatness, only recognizing how good Lebron actually is. There are only a handful of players in NBA history who could single-handedly turn any team into a championship contender, and he’s one of them

      • musician0785 - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        SEE: 2005 LAKERS roster

      • bhunter1995 - Jul 22, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        @borderline1988 – LBJ is 2/5 in the finals. He has played in the weaker conference for his entire career and when he makes it to the finals he has lost more often then he has won. If the Heat were in the West, they wouldn’t have even made the finals this last season, and with the cavs he only made the finals once only to get crushed by the spurs. Did he win lots of regular season games with the Cavs? Yes, he did but to call them perennial championship contenders is ludicrous considering the fact that they only made the finals a single time.

        Lebron only won championships when he played with a lock first ballot HOFer and guy who will probably end up in the HOF (Bosh). To say that LBJ could hop on the Bucks or the 76rs and take them to the finals and win it all is ignorant.

    • musician0785 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      declining, aside from missing games where has his production declined? I’ll wait….

      • divan22 - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:37 PM

        He played 6 ineffective games last year before suffering another injury… and you want to know how he’s declining?? Only the Kobe Klan!

        The next 36 year old to still play like a superstar after 2 injury-riddled seasons will be the first. But no, Kobe can do it!!! Just like he can convince all the big stars to play with him!!! Just wait until next offseason!!! #KOBESYSTEM!!!

        (Did I do it right?)

      • musician0785 - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:47 PM

        Ineffictive? you bother to look at the box score in the games he played?

        Game 1: 9 pts 2-9

        Game 2 : 20 pts 6-11

        Game 3: 4 pts 2-6

        Game 4: 21 pts 8-15

        Game 5: 8 4-14

        Game 6: 21 pts 9-18

        ineffective? 20+ pts shooting 50% from the field in 3 of your first 6 games after a major injury…..thats ineffective? So to answer your question….No you didnt….

      • divan22 - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:01 AM

        LOL those numbers are pretty pedestrian overall. Cute of you to only include scoring numbers.

        Yes, ineffective for Kobe, at least. According to you, half of his 6 games were up to his standard and he was awful in his other 3 games. If he plays 82 games next season and is awful in 41 of them, the Lakers are locks to be the worst team in the West.

      • musician0785 - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:47 AM

        I guess you were expecting 27 7 and 7 coming off major surgery….realism must not be your thing

      • divan22 - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:59 AM

        LOL so we have to set a handicap for what “ineffective” means based on the circumstances now?

        If he plays 30 games next season, all with a limp, and averages 12 PPG are we still not allowed to call it “ineffective”?

    • realfootballfan - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      I wouldn’t even blame that. I’d blame Slow Buss, the coaching situation, and the available stars for why this is a silly conversation. Kobee deserved whatever the Lakers gave him. Who else should be getting it from them? Dwight didn’t want to play with him, which I think some of us tried to tell Laker fans before your GM traded for him to tunes of being shouted down by any Laker fan. If Kevin Love was a FA, you don’t think he would have signed there? Carmelo didn’t fit with him and wisely went back to a franchise that can build around him as he should be built around. So who did that leave? The Miami guys? There were no great players that were realistically mobile except LeBron who wasn’t interested in being anywhere like that with so much organizational structure as that’s what he was trying to get away from in Miami.

      • musician0785 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:50 PM

        They traded a Bynum who couldnt play anymore (literally) for the best center in the game…..any gm would do that trade

      • thecorduroyman - Jul 19, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        Yeah. If they did anything right it was selling high on Bynum.

      • divan22 - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:32 PM

        The same Kevin Love who’s dying to sign an extension if he gets traded to CLEVELAND because he’s so sick of losing? That Kevin Love?

        No, I don’t think he wants any part of the Lakers. At least not until Kobe retires. So that makes him pretty much like every other NBA superstar.

        Proof is in the roster. Lakers had to “win the rights” to Carlos Boozer just to have a functional human being as its #2 option.

      • realfootballfan - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:05 AM

        divan22,

        You mean the same thing he’s told Golden State, Boston (who’s been doing some pretty good sucking since trading all of their championship players), and Cleveland? If he doesn’t get traded, let’s see where he chooses to go if it’s between all of those places and the Lakers. He’s openly said he wants to be in California, and the Lakers are the marquee franchise in California, sorry Kings, Clippers, and Warrior fans. Kevin Love wants to get paid the most money and be in a big market if he has his druthers. He’s told people that openly. If he was concerned with all the losing, he’d have done something about it like play defense instead of basically yelling “Ole!” on that end of the court

      • divan22 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:11 AM

        If that were true, then Love won’t sign an extension anywhere and will sign with the Lakers in free agency next offseason. Bet your house on that!

    • mikerome64 - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:46 AM

      Then tell me why Dallas has not been able to sign any of the superstar free agents that they have gone after? I know why I just want you to tell me why.

  3. tsi431 - Jul 19, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Other than Lebron. Pau is the only “free agent” that would of actually made the Lakers a better team today, and in the future.

    • therealhtj - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:04 PM

      If by better, you mean winning 34 games instead of 29, then yes, Pau would OF made the Lakers fantastic.

  4. thomaskouns - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    I think it’s mandatory now in the NBA when doing anything 35 year old Kobe doesn’t like, to get on your knees and apologize.

    You’re not a ‘winner’ if you do otherwise.

  5. bong815 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Pau is a good guy, and he could have helped for a couple of years. But he was often dissed by ownership, and especially by the idiot coach D’Antoni, who never did figure out how to use him.

  6. loungefly74 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    any talk of Mamba and Spaniard not being bros should cease…

  7. realfootballfan - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Sure it was Pao.

  8. realfootballfan - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Btw, didn’t the Lakers and Bulls basically trade about the same kind of players in Pao and Boozer at this point in their careers?

    • chicitybulls - Jul 19, 2014 at 9:20 PM

      No.

    • 5xchamp24 - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      Emphatic no.
      Boozer 2013-14 stats 45.6%fg 13.7ppg 8.3rbs 1.6ast 0.3blks
      Gasol 48.0%fg 17.4ppg 9.7rbs 3.4ast 1.5blks
      And Thibodeau always takes Boozer out in the 4th quarter because of defense.

      • realfootballfan - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:08 AM

        Somebody reading stats again. We’re talking about how they play these days. They’re both guys who don’t play much defense anymore, get rebounds, and score a few points a game, but aren’t anything special. I think they’re exactly the same guy these days.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 20, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Pau can’t anchor the defense, sure, but in Chicago they have Joakim Noah to do that. Pau is still a good defender

  9. andreboy1 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    The fact that D’Antoni couldn’t figure out how to use a versatile big man like Pau just shows what a crappy coach he really is.

    • realfootballfan - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:29 PM

      It was an awful fit, just like Mike Brown. If you think Kobee was the person greenlighting these coaching hires, you’re nuts. That’s on management swinging and missing like they have been. Phil coaching those same players I still don’t think win a championship because Nash was simply too old when Phoenix shipped him off, but they would have been in the mix for the Finals again until Kobee got hurt. This is on management to find a good coach again. It took them forever after Riley left despite the decent seasons Del Harris and Dunleavy had, so it might be awhile before they find the next one. That is a dilemma they do have right now because Kobee isn’t going to want to be coached by anyone. When he is gone, they might be wise to look into the former player route that seems to be sweeping the league like a Kevin Ollie or a Mark Price who was allegedly interested in the Cav job. Hornacek did pretty well his first here in Phoenix.

    • AZ Dem - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:52 PM

      Pau was a bad fit for D’Antoni’s system. And Pau didn’t make much of an effort to fit in.

      And if he’s so versatile, why couldn’t he learn the pick and roll?

      • realfootballfan - Jul 19, 2014 at 9:30 PM

        That’s probably why you don’t hire a coach who can’t use your players correctly. It’s like hiring a Coryell offensive coach and trying to put a dink and dunk QB into it. Doesn’t mean the QB is bad, but he can’t succeed at something that doesn’t play to his strengths.

  10. cpcheung - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Lakers didn’t get into playoffs last season but they will next season. Let us see the difference!

  11. shadowgamesshades - Jul 19, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    The thing about Kobetards is that they always side with whatever Kobe says even when he is wrong. They worship Kobe like Jesus.

  12. fordmandalay - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    “The thing about Kobetards is that they always side with whatever Kobe says even when he is wrong. They worship Kobe like Jesus.”

    Kobe may not be able to walk on water, but he sure knows how to walk all over teammates.

  13. tv63 - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    Happy for Gasol. He was the whipping boy in the LA media for too long. And then the nonstop trade rumors hounded him season after season. Kobe wasn’t the greatest to him publically either. And then there was D’antoni who didn’t seem to know how to use him the right way. The last 3 years were just too toxic, It was time for him for a new beginning.

  14. 00maltliquor - Jul 20, 2014 at 2:16 AM

    There are a lot of clowns and wanna be comedians on this here thread….

    • billtetley53 - Jul 20, 2014 at 7:37 AM

      Malt, there are also a lot of unrealistic lakers fans on here too.

      I see the inevitable shredding of a forme lakers player is under way by your fellow fans also.

      You know the drill…..,Gasol wasnt that good prior to the lakers, gets traded to L. A. , suddenly he is the best at his position, chooses to leave L. A. , suddenly hes Carlos Boozer.

      Its as sure as death and taxes. It happened with Shaq, it happened with Bynum, its happening with Gasol, and its sickening.

      Malt, youre a good dude, but most of your fellow lakers fans are detestable and delusional.

      • musician0785 - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        Excuse me, where did you see ANYONE say “Gasol wasn’t that good prior to the lakers”?

        “It happened with Bynum” OF COURSE it happened with Bynum he played a total of like 10 games after he left the lakers.

        Nets are going on 5 coaches in 5 years, No more PP and an 100 year old Garnett with the highest luxury tax bill in the league……worry about your own team

    • billtetley53 - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      Pissy eyes: Its been said many times by many fans on here. Google past comments of pbt.

      You know what, even with all the turmoil and turnover, the nets will still be better than your putrid lakers.

      Im good giving you lakers fans greif, you deserve every bit you get of it.
      You should have hoped Garnett retired. Im done with the nba after that. Now yourecstuck for another year. Of course, I might be a Wiggins fan too.

      • musician0785 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        So what you’re saying is NOBODY said it….its just something you made up…..got it…

      • billtetley53 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:48 PM

        Good God. Are you that damn obtuse, or just willfully ignorant?
        What part of google searching pbt comments dont you understand?
        I know for a fact there are several people that said that about Gasol, primarily KB2408.
        I am not taking the time to search them out for you. For one, youll just have some excuse as to why it isnt true, so it would be a waste of my time. Youre a delusional lakers fan, youll defend them to the death, even whenvits painfully obvious that youre wrong

        You are one ignorant, inane person, do you know that? You should. You put it on full display everytime you post . Your daily crying on here is pathetic…..got it…

      • musician0785 - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:37 PM

        I like how you make up stuff, can’t provide ANY proof, and ur response is “Why don’t you google it?” Hilarious to see an idiot flail away, and you’ve yet to show me any instance where I was “crying” your response is usually “why dont you just google your name and pbt” meaning you cant prove any of it….it just sounds good…..to you

      • billtetley53 - Jul 21, 2014 at 6:47 AM

        Its official, you are the most ignorant poster on this site.

        1.) Everyone knows you cry, between iou and Vanessa Monetti, we arecankle deep,in tears. One only has to scroll up in this article to see you bawl.

        2.) As stated, any post I dig up, youd just try to discredit(much like youre doing about your crying). Why waste the time? Everyone knows the fans turn on the players when they leave in L. A. You are a moron pissy eyes.

      • musician0785 - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Once again i ask for a specific example….and you cant provide one…

      • musician0785 - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        The best insult you can come up with is pissy eyes (which makes absolutely ZERO sense) and I’M the moron……sure champ whatever gets you to sleep at night

  15. harshedmellow - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:24 AM

    #LakersLaughingstock

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