In the summer of 2014, Pau Gasol decided to leave the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency for the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers were said to have offered more than the Bulls and were willing to add a no-trade clause in his contract, but Gasol still chose to leave Los Angeles.
Apparently, Kobe Bryant seems to think Gasol wasn’t appreciated the way he should’ve been. Bryant recently said the following about Gasol’s time with the Lakers and also took a shot at the team’s former head coach Mike D’Antoni via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times Times:
“I think the city of L.A. didn’t really appreciate what he did and, what we had,” said Bryant. “As a consequence, everybody fell in line with the Mike D’Antoni rhetoric of small ball. For a guy that has two championships, to be treated that way, you don’t do that.”
During Gasol’s time with the Lakers, the two-time NBA champion was constantly mentioned in trade rumors. The veteran forward took the seemingly endless rumors in stride and was considered to be a consummate professional for the way he handled the situation in Los Angeles.
The Lakers will host the Bulls on Thursday night with Gasol playing against Bryant for the last time on the Staples Center floor in Los Angeles. This matchup is bound to be an emotional one for Bryant and Gasol with the two veterans maintaining a close relationship since the Spanish forward left the team in 2014.