HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – While it’s far from official and certainly not anything you should bet the mortgage on, there’s a certain big man from Spain who should rest a little easier today.
And no one should question Kobe Bryant‘s dedication to his Los Angeles Lakers teammate Pau Gasol.
Bryant reaffirmed his faith in and commitment to Gasol to reporters in Barcelona today when he responded this way to a question from a local reporter about Gasol’s status with the Lakers, per our main man Brian C. Mahoney of the Associated Press:
“As long as I’m there, he’s going to be there.”
That’s 10 more words than the Lakers’ brass will give you (publicly) in support of Gasol, who (if you believe the rumors) has been on the trading block non-stop since the past two seasons.
Bryant has come to Gasol’s defense before, railing against management for not protecting him early last season on a road trip to Phoenix. So to hear that he did it in Gasol’s backyard on the eve of an exhibition game between the U.S. Men’s Senior National team and Gasol’s Spanish team is not surprising.
The language used, however, is as strong as anything we’ve heard from Bryant regarding Gasol. With Steve Nash in the fold and the continued speculation surrounding the Lakers’ pursuit of Dwight Howard, Gasol has every right to be concerned about his standing in the organization.
Andrew Bynum has been mentioned much more prominently in the trade rumors, but that doesn’t mean Gasol is safe from the chatter. A strong vote of confidence from Bryant, though, should carry some sort of weight with the Lakers.