Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant experienced great success together after the big man was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008. The two helped the Lakers win two NBA championships and along the way formed a strong bond with one another. Though Gasol was long linked to trade rumors throughout his Los Angeles career, it was Bryant that usually lobbied publicly for Gasol to remain on the team.
So, it’s not surprising that it was hard for Gasol to break the news to Bryant that was making the decision to turn down a more lucrative offer from the Lakers this offseason to sign with the Chicago Bulls.
From ESPN Los Angeles’ Dave McMenamin:
“It was difficult,” Gasol told reporters when asked about informing Bryant of his decision to sign with the Bulls. “We have a close friendship. We’ve been through a lot together, and I’m sure I will miss him. But we talked to each other and our relationship goes beyond basketball and we’ll always have a friendship.
“It was difficult to talk to him, but he was very supportive and he understood. He just said I had to do what was best for me and what felt right for me and he was going to support me no matter what. That’s what friends and brothers do, and that’s what we are.”
It’s good to hear that Bryant understood Gasol’s decision because from a basketball standpoint it’s clear the 7-footer made the right choice, as Chicago presents an opportunity to win a championship right now that Los Angeles doesn’t.
Gasol averaged 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks last season.