Ever since David Stern stepped in and prevented him from becoming a member of the Houston Rockets last December, Pau Gasol has been the center of nonstop trade rumors, and Kobe Bryant thinks it’s affecting the Lakers big man’s play.
Kobe told the LA Times after Friday’s 111-99 home win over the Suns he thinks all the trade chatter has provided “an emotional couple days” for Gasol, who scored just 10 points in the contest.
“Personally I don’t understand that crap,” Bryant said. “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.”
Amid constant talk this season about being the centerpiece in a potential trade to the Magic for everybody’s favorite frontrunner Dwight Howard, Gasol has posted a career low in points per game (16.6). Recently, he’s also been linked to a possible deal sending him to Minnesota for rookie Derrick Williams and draft picks. The NBA’s trade deadline is March 15.
“At times it crosses your mind, but not exactly when you’re playing,” Gasol said. “Obviously when you’re playing, you’re focused and you try to do the best that you can. It’s something you have to shake off regardless at any time.”
Regardless of Gasol’s play on the court, you can’t knock him for displaying excellent professionalism in the face of persistent trade speculation, especially when you compare him to the way Lamar Odom handled his things.
Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas, US PresswireGoogle+