Pau Gasol has been surrounded by trade rumors all season (in fact he was actually traded in the pre-season before the league vetoed the deal), and as the trade deadline gets closer the rumors aren’t going away.
In a recent interview with the L.A. Times, Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant said that he believes the rumors are having an impact on Gasol mentally.
Though it appears pointing out a discrepancy involves splitting hairs, Bryant believes reports linking Gasol in a trade has made it “an emotional couple of days for him.”
“Personally I don’t understand that crap,” Bryant said regarding the Lakers’ effort to trade Gasol. “But it is what it is. It’s important for him to know we support him. I support him especially. I just want him to go out there and play hard and do what he does best for us.”
Despite the professionalism that Gasol has displayed since the nixed trade back in December, there’s no doubt that he has allowed off-court rumors and rumblings to affect his performance on the court. During last season’s playoffs there were rumors of problems with his girlfriend, which were supposed to explain his sub-par performance in the playoffs.
Still, while Gasol didn’t make the All-Star team this season, he is still putting up relatively strong numbers. Heading into Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, Gasol is averaging 16.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. He’s also dishing out three assists and blocking 1.3 shots each game as well.