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Pau Gasol and His 9 Lives As A Laker

Pau Gasol is the best teammate anyone could ever have. He is not your typical alpha male NBA superstar but he gets the job done. He can even be your friendly scapegoat in case someone from your team screws up. He is the perfect complementary player to Kobe Bryant who is notoriously known as someone who’s “tough to play with”.

Not everyone can stand Kobe. Shaq had a difficult time with him. Young players get pressured around him. Heck, even his own mother had issues with him! And just recently, some superstar just left due to, well, Kobe (indirectly). Pau Gasol has been one of the few people who gets along with Bryant very well. They are “amigos” on and off the court. If you search the internet, you can find clips that will show Kobe vocally defending Pau Gasol against criticisms and trades.

To trade, or not to trade, that is the question—

“I’m used to it by now. It’s been a constant thing for me. It’s like getting up from bed and having breakfast.”

-Pau Gasol

After Pau Gasol helped the Lakers grab back-to-back championship rings, he has been involved in a gazillion trading possibilities. In fact, he was actually traded until Stern’s infamous “basketball reasons” happened.

A look at Pau’s trade rumor history (in no particular order):

  1. Pau for Kevin Love

  2. Pau for Josh Smith

  3. Pau for CP3

  4. Pau for Carlos Boozer *

  5. Pau for Bargnani *

  6. Pau for Ryan Anderson

  7. Pau for Gay (and for Pierce)

  8. Pau for cap space a.k.a Andrew Bynum !

* – indicates a stupid trade rumor

! – indicates a NEW trade rumor a.k.a. THIS JUST IN!

Before we go further to the harsh reality, a trip down memory lane would be nice for Pau and the rest of us.


Pau Gasol was acquired back in 2008 from the Memphis Grizzlies along with a 2010 second round pick in exchange for forward Kwame Brown, Crittenton, Mckie, the rights to Marc Gasol, as well as a 2008 and 2010 draft picks. Although Pau had many achievements as a franchise player of the Grizzlies, he was 0-12 in the playoffs. His team had always gotten into the playoffs only to be swept by a better team. After 6 and a half seasons with Memphis, he finally got past the first round of the Western Conference… as a Laker. When he rocked purple and gold, him and Kobe immediately clicked. Pau’s transition into the Lakers’ lineup and seamless chemistry playing with Bryant were enough to put a smile on every Lakers fan’s face after a tumultuous season.

A look at the Lakers’ performance since they traded for Pau Gasol (source):


with Gasol
without Gasol
81.5% (22-5)
63.6% (35-20)
Opposition PPG

A look at how Pau and Kobe fared when together on court (source):




Note: Stats were gathered based on Gasol’s early years as a Laker.

It is without doubt that Kobe benefited from Pau Gasol, and vice versa. Gasol was “Robin” to Bryant’s “Batman”. Together, they collected wins and rings. They helped each other get out of “the jokes”.

Pau helped Kobe get out of the “you can’t win without Shaq” jokes, and Kobe helped Pau finally experience what it is like to get past the 1st round of the playoffs in NBA.

He dominated Dwight Howard in the 2009 finals. Easily. In the 2010 Lakers-Celtics Finals, Pau was even better. He was tougher. Meaner. The Celtics threw multiple big men at him to no avail.

Check out Pau Gasol’s glory days here:

(Related Article: The Two Faces of Pau Gasol)

Gasol possesses a vast array of skills that make him a unique big fella. He can finish at the basket with either hand, he can hit the mid-range J (Heck, he can even shoot 3’s now that he’s D’Antoni-fied), he has a high basketball IQ, he can give you double-digit rebounds and he can run the floor better than most bigs today. But even with the mentioned skills, Pau has always stayed humble. He’s often criticized as passive (and Gasoft) due to his selfless ways. He’s always been “Mr. Nice Guy” — very professional even with the numerous trade rumors (he had two monster games amidst all the commotion just recently). He changed his ways when Dwight came in last year. He adapted to MDA’s system notwithstanding the subtle insults that his coach blast every now and then.

“It’s also a nice excuse not to play hard.”

-Mike D’Antoni’s reply to Gasol’s frustration.

Pau doesn’t need the spotlight. He doesn’t want the ball all the time. As great and successful as he may be, he will always be second to Kobe. But, he wouldn’t care. He’s an epitome of a true team player. When the Lakers win, Kobe gets the praises. When the Lakers lose, Pau usually gets the blame. Either he did not get enough rebounds or he didn’t score much. How many times has Pau been unfairly scapegoated?

(Throwback Whateverday: There were discussions before about Pau Gasol being more deserving of the finals MVP award instead of Kobe. Here.)

All runs come to an end at some point. Legs get tired. People leave. David Stern sucks.

Pau Gasol’s time as a Laker may be near its end. Or, maybe not? Nobody ever knows. Even Pau himself doesn’t mind anymore. After all that he’s been through, he’s still a Laker today (Pau Gasol boarded Lakers’ plane en route to Dallas!).

Who said only cats have 9 lives?

Additional Update: The Andrew Bynum-Pau Gasol deal is OFFICIALLY dead. Luol Deng is headed to Cleveland for Bynum.


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