“I tried everything under the sun to get him to stay. He just felt completely disrespected”- Kobe Bryant on Pau Gasol.
After Chicago Bull Pau Gasol inspiringly introduced former Los Angeles Laker teammate Kobe Bryant to the United Centre for the last time these two great friends would meet on the NBA stage before number 24 calls it a day for the rafters, Bean had some wonderful words for the Spanish star postgame. In particular reiterating the fact that he never, ever wanted his right hand man to walk away in free agency and did everything in his power bar the same steps to keep him in purple and gold.
Kobe may have just presented STAPLES sell out, singing superstar Taylor Swift with her own banner to go next to the Lakers ones he’s helped put up, but it seems he is the one singing ‘All You Had To Do Was Stay’ right now, even more than alt-rocker Ryan Adams.
But thanks to LAL management dangling Pau as bait more times than worms for trade over the years, there was no way the revolutionary player was going to stay when the Buss brass finally acted like they “needed” a player who practically…or should we even say literally brought in two championships when they traded for him in the first place.
That’s the thanks he gets? No wonder he jetted to United…and no wonder the draft pick the Lakers exchanged for him in package, brother Marc wouldn’t ink with the desperate purple heart of Kobe’s squadron last Summer.
They call that karma people.
But after all that…and not a couple of days before the great Gasol showed love for the gold standard of number 24, he was being shopped around for trades yet again. This time by his current Bulls team who promised him lasting loyalty when they slid a contract across their desk. I know he’s a major piece for blockbuster deals but is this the thanks again the best international player not called Dirk gets? The most consistent cog in Chicago. You really want to trade away awesome averages of 17.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists across your stat strapped, box score board? You really want to trade away one of the most loyal teammates and star players in spite of the betrayal he has unfairly and unjustly received?
His former frontcourt partner in Lakerland line understands. Dwight Howard’s big name, game and trouble where about to become another big blockbuster to conclude last week. After wanting an escape from L.A. even more than Pau Gasol (albeit in a different way), Dwight’s saving grace of a fresh start now looks like more than a problem out in Houston. With Pau its just unfair…but with this guy is it him? Either way with rumors of the centre of the Rockets rocky in-attention and the beard of fear, James Harden trying to get management to trade the other one it’s clear what could have been the most dynamic duo since Shaq and Kobe turned out to be…well Shaq and Kobe. If this is Howard’s end why didnt he learn from Bryant? These guys can’t even connect on a routine alley-oop! And let’s not even get started on the talented but troubled Ty Lawson. Come free agency it looks like there’s more chance Harden will be joined by two razors than star teammates. Even returning super-sub stopper Trevor Ariza was almost shopped like New Year sales.
Speaking of more former Lakers, even Nick Young wanted out of Hollywood…although no one was buying his swag. Still can you imagine the Lake Show’s former Sixth Man coming off the bench much longer…if at all? Espeically with the reigning one of the year Lou Will in front, making P the sixth mans sixth man.
This is the big business of the NBA people. Loyalty and chemisty be damned. No one is safe. I mean they very nearly swapped Kobe for the King back in the day. Now how much of the 76ers roster, front office, floor staff and season ticket holders (and even a scalper or two…depending on their price) do you think Philly would have to give up to cook with Steph Curry? Anyone is expendable. Especially when it comes to the official Trade Deadline that has become such an NBA event, akin to a circus like the draft or mid-February All-Star weekend.
And that’s the point.
But it shouldn’t be!
From Howard to Gasol do you think these hurt feelings and bruised egos are going to want to stick around now? Sure for all the rumors and haves and have nots only a few big names marked new addresses after last week. The most notable being stuttering star Lance Stephenson stepping yet again. Who does he now play for again? It hardly matters…he’ll probably be off again next week. And that’s the problem. That’s the thing. All these big moves and bucks are crippling cohesiveness and team chemistry. Forget loyalty and legacy. Just you wait until free agency. Lets not get so worked up about where Kevin Durant or whoever becomes the next K.D. next offseason ends up. Lets worry about where he is right.damn.now.
Besides although it’s always good to have a plan for the future…or at least a contingency one, this game isn’t about the shot you could make…it’s about the shot your about to take…in this moment. Don’t ruin it by jumping the gun, pulling the trigger or just fingering the smart end for a bit like you feel clever or lucky punk. Your teams just going to end up shot.
Congratulations to all those who stuck to their’s and didn’t make a move (even though sometimes a change is needed…hello Rasheed Wallace, Detroit Pistons circa 2003)…but in the cases were the damage is already done, where does that leave you?
Maybe its time to trade deadline day for a new one.
Just a thought…don’t make a big deal about it!