Following Kobe Bryant’s initial comments on Sunday and Mitch Kupchak’s response statement on Monday, it appears as if the Lakers’ general manager reached out to team forward Pau Gasol to clarify his statement.
According to Kevin Ding of the O.C. Register, following the release of his initial statement Monday before the game between the Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers, Kupchak contacted Gasol to clarify his comments and offer some support.
Gasol got no guarantees – same as in Kupchak’s official statement later that night – but at least he received an update and an acknowledgement from Lakers management. That’s more than had happened in months, so credit Kobe Bryant for helping Gasol get that much, too.
This isn’t much of a surprise, and is congruent with Kupchak’s statement on Monday. Still, it’s nice seeing him reach out to Gasol and try and explain his side of the situation. Everybody knows that in the end this is still a business, and winning is good for business. While that doesn’t make it any easier for players like Gasol who are the focus of trade rumors, it is nice to see a team executive offer some support to his players.
There’s no doubt that Gasol appreciated the support Bryant gave him through the media. Gasol stated, “It feels good that my teammate supported me and went out and spoke his mind and said: ‘I want him here.’ ”
While there’s no guarantee Gasol will still be on the team a month from now, hopefully Bryant’s words of support and Kupchak’s closed-door comments will help put Gasol’s mind at ease, even if it’s just temporary.