Of all the losses the Los Angeles Lakers suffered this off-season, none hurt nearly as much as Pau Gasol leaving the team to join the Chicago Bulls.
No one blamed Gasol for leaving as most believed it would be beneficial for him to split from the team. This includes Kobe Bryant who, according to our own Serena Winters, says he is happy for Gasol:
Kobe on Pau: "I'm happy for him. He felt rejuvenated by going to a new situation. At the end of the day, he's my brother before basketball."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) September 30, 2014
A rejuvenated Gasol is an excellent thing for the Bulls as he will bring an offensive efficiency from the post that the Bulls have not had in years. Unfortunately, Gasol had simply grown tired of the Lakers, especially his role in Mike D’Antoni’s offense.
Bryant and Gasol grew extremely close over their six-plus seasons together in Los Angeles and that point was re-iterated by Kobe’s comments. Despite being part of consistent trade rumors throughout his time in Los Angeles, Gasol always maintained class and never said anything negative about the Lakers organization.
Gasol helped the Lakers to three consecutive finals and back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. In all likelihood, Gasol will see his number 16 hang in the rafters once he retires from the league, and his brother Kobe will be right there to witness it.[divide]
Lakers Media Day: Kobe Bryant (PT. 1) ‘I Don’t Have Many Of These Left’