When Pau Gasol joined the Lakers in 2008, the veteran forward would become the secondary piece needed to put the Lakers over the top and would eventually help lead the Lakers to back-to-back NBA titles. Along the way, Gasol and Kobe Bryant forged a great relationship and friendship.
Gasol has been in non-stop trade rumors over the last couple of years and was a part of the infamous Chris Paul vetoed trade. Apparently, these trade rumors have bothered Kobe Bryant through the years as he shared on his ‘Kobe Up Close’ special on AXS TV:
“It bothers me. We won two championships with Gasol anchoring. Then Bynum started to develop so we tried to include him. Then we traded for Dwight and we had to incorporate him. And through the process we forgot how we won championships in the first place. Pau was constantly being asked to change his game and it put him in a tough position.”
Kobe raises a very interesting and true point. Gasol was arguably the best player on the floor in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics in 2010, yet when someone new was brought in or changes had to be made it was always Gasol that was asked to make the sacrifice.
Gasol never complaining about the trade rumors, or his ever-changing role with the Lakers, speaks a lot to his character. And despite his numbers dwindling in the last couple of years, Gasol has played every role the Lakers have needed him to play which really shows his diverse skill set.
Needless to say, Gasol will get the chance to be a centerpiece of the team again this season and maybe now we will see him once again lay claim to being the best offensive big man in the NBA.
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