Kobe Bryant knew what he was doing.
After publicly blasting the Los Angeles Lakers’ front-office for their handling of the Pau Gasol situation, he gave the media a knowing smile and indicated that he knew that his comments would be all over the sports pages. And, of course, it worked.
Following a disheartening loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers’ 11th road defeat of the season, Kobe let it be known that the organization needs to decide whether or not Pau Gasol will remain a Laker, and needs to to do so sooner than later.
From the LA Times:
“I wish [Lakers] management would come out and either trade him or not trade him,” Bryant said after the Lakers’ 102-90 loss Sunday in Phoenix. “It’s just tough for a player to give his all when you don’t know if you’re going to be here tomorrow. I’d rather them not trade him at all but if they’re going to do something, I wish they would just … do it.” Bryant sympathized with Gasol, sprinkling in some expletives while talking about his situation. “If they’re not going to do it, come out and say you’re not going to do it,” Bryant said. “This way, he can be comfortable and go out and can perform and play and he can invest all of himself into the game. You can’t have one of our pillars not knowing if he’s going to be here or not. Do something. One way or another, do something.”
“He’s been the consummate professional,” Bryant said. “He’s going out and he’s trying to do what he can. But let’s be real. If you didn’t know you were going to be here tomorrow, if your head’s on the chopping block … it’s tough to put all of yourself into the game.” Gasol deserved security or clarity, Bryant said. “I just think it would help him out a lot,” Bryant said. “Help us out a lot.”
For what it’s worth, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told SI over the weekend that it’s unlikely the team will pull the trigger on a major trade this season, but of course, you just never know.
It remains to be seen if the Lakers’ front-office will come out and offer Pau Gasol any sort of assurances prior to the trade deadline, especially after Kobe went to bat for him.