Back in 2008, the Los Angeles Lakers made a game-changing move by pulling the trigger on a blockbuster trade to acquire Pau Gasol. The trade turned out to be exactly what was needed to hold onto Kobe Bryant while elevating the team to perennial title contender status.
As a result of the new dynamic duo in Los Angeles, the Lakers won two consecutive titles and a bond was forever cemented between Kobe and Gasol.
With Gasol set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, the consensus seems to be that he’ll be leaving the storied franchise. Even though all signs appear to be leading toward Gasol’s departure in free agency, the two-time NBA champion said playing alongside Kobe would be one of the main reasons he’d re-sign with the team according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Pau Gasol on Kobe Bryant: "I know that he is going to be one of the main reasons why I would come back to the team."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) April 17, 2014
Despite the friendship between Kobe and Gasol being stronger than ever, the fact remains that the Spaniard appears to be on his way out. Gasol hasn’t ruled out a return to the Lakers and will likely keep that stance all the way up to the start of free agency on July 1, but many believe he’s played his last game in purple and gold.
As for Kobe, the five-time NBA champion hasn’t been all that vocal as of late. Bryant has been relatively quite since his rant following the announcement that he’d be shut down for the season due to the knee injury.
Although Kobe has been quiet, that will likely change leading up to free agency. The Lakers organization has let it be known that they won’t be consulting Kobe on decisions set to be made, but it would be surprising not to hear the veteran guard lobby for his longtime teammate to return to Los Angeles.
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