In an article in USA Today, Bryant said:
He's going out and he's trying to do what he can. But let's be real. If you didn't know you were going to be here tomorrow, if your head's on the chopping block and you feel like you're just waiting, it's tough to put all yourself in the game.
It's hard to disagree with him. Of course, earlier in the season, it looked as if Gasol was moving to the Houston Rockets. Then the NBA vetoed the Chris Paul to Los Angeles trade, and the Spaniard has been stuck in a state of limbo ever since.
Even though the Lakers are second in the Pacific Division, you have to say that they are underachieving a bit this year.
It would also be a logical step to say that the constant trade talk surrounding Gasol has affected not only him, but the entire Lakers team.
Kobe Bryant and the team in general is getting older, so their window is closing to win a title.
That is why Mitch Kupchak must decide whether or not he's going to trade Gasol. The longer this escapade goes on, the more it's going to affect the Lakers on the court.
The trade deadline may be a little under a month away, thus putting an end to any trade rumors this year, but the Lakers need to be completely focused on winning every game.
Gasol is signed through 2013, so it's not as if he is going anywhere soon through free agency. But that's part of the problem. The longer he remains a Laker, the more these rumors are going to dog him and the team.
It's clear that Los Angeles is angling for Dwight Howard to follow the trail to LA that was blazed by Shaquille O'Neal. It's also almost equally clear that the Lakers management believes Gasol to be expendable.
When looking at the situation, the better decision would probably be trading Gasol. It's hard to see the team getting fair value, but when trading an established player like him, a team never does.
If the Spanish forward remains a Laker, he will always have that belief that he is only a Laker simply because the team couldn't find the right trade.
It would only be a marriage of convenience rather than Los Angeles believing they could win a title with the team the way it is.
But really, the team just simply needs to be definitive in what its motives are. They should either trade Gasol or say that he is their center and isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
If the Lakers wait much longer, they may burn any bridge with Gasol beyond repair.
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