Lakers News and Trade Rumors: Kobe Bryant Wants L.A. to Hold Onto Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol is at the center of trade rumors once again, but the Los Angeles Lakers might hold onto him beyond the NBA trade deadline, and possibly beyond the current season—or at least, that's what Lakers star Kobe Bryant hopes.
NBA analyst David Aldridge reported on Monday that Lakers superstar guard Kobe Bryant is still pushing for the Lakers to keep Gasol.
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The superstar guard, who has been a vocal supporter of his longtime teammate, is still optimistic that his partnership with Gasol will produce another title for the Lakers in the near future.
Bryant signed a two-year extension worth $48.5 million earlier in the season, and sources said that one of the reasons why the superstar guard agreed to the extension is the Lakers' promise to keep Gasol, while also adding another big-name free agent this summer.
"When Bryant's extension was announced, Bryant made it crystal clear he'd been told by Lakers management that not only would the team be able to re-sign Gasol this summer despite Bryant's huge numbers, but also be able to add an impact free agent," Aldridge noted.
Recent reports indicated that the Lakers were engaged in deep talks with the Phoenix Suns about a deal involving the 33-year-old center, who has been playing well for the Lakers this season, averaging 17.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
Talks between the two teams have stalled due to the Lakers' insistence on receiving a 2014 first round pick, which is not amenable to the Suns.
Sources said that the Lakers and the Suns are still expected to resume talks before the deadline, especially if Gasol recovers quickly from his groin injury.
"The Lakers were open to trading Pau Gasol until they couldn't pry one of Phoenix's top draft picks for this June away from the Suns. Phoenix could be getting No. 1 picks from Minnesota and Washington, and the Lakers are seeking one of those prime assets. Even as Gasol misses the next 10 days or so with a groin injury, the two teams are expected to resume talks," the New York Daily News reported.
It is unclear whether or not Bryant will try to influence the Lakers' decision on Gasol, considering the fact the Suns are not willing to give the Lakers an impact player, unless the Lakers find a way to convince the Suns to trade away Goran Dragic or Eric Bledsoe before the deadline.