During Thursday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher stated on the TNT broadcast that he spoke with Kobe Bryant prior to the game and asked him who he could “envision” on next year’s team.
Bucher reported that Bryant included Pau Gasol’s name, which the reporter said “surprised” him. Bucher further pressed Bryant, asking how confident the five-time champion is on a scale of one to 10, that Gasol will be with the Los Angeles Lakers next season, to which Bryant responded “eight.”
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Bucher did state it could have simply been another example of Bryant believing he “can do anything.” Bryant’s support for Gasol to return is far from a surprise. On numerous occasions, he has publicly expressed his desire to keep the Spaniard in Los Angeles and Bryant would often argue the general public wasn’t aware of the talent Gasol still us.
From Gasol’s perspective, the situation may not be quite as clear. Now in his second season with head coach Mike D’Antoni, Gasol has often questioned the direction of the offense and recently took it a step further saying the Lakers lacked discipline.
Over the last three seasons, Gasol was often the source of rumors as the trade deadline approached. Perhaps for varying reasons each season, Gasol managed to survive the rumors and remained with the Lakers.
This summer Gasol will find himself at the other end of the table, with his future squarely in his hands. Given his odds with D’Antoni and a blog post that stated winning another championship is his first priority, it is hard to envision Gasol with the Lakers beyond May 2014.
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