It sounds like the Lakers could be receiving Gasol back into the lineup Thursday!
O.C. Register: Ask Kobe Bryant to reflect on his 2007 demand to be traded away from the Lakers, and he will express appreciation for all the hard work an awful lot of people put in to make the Lakers better.
He also knows what made the Lakers the best.
“Things just worked out,” Bryant said. “I call Pau (Gasol) my gift from above. I just absolutely love that guy. I’m just happy it worked out the way it did, because I really didn’t want to leave here.”
Everyone was to the thunder and lightning in Bryant’s star partnership with Shaquille O’Neal. Bryant’s peaceful co-existence with Gasol has been like the still of the night.
Gasol is finally set to come back after missing more than a month with a right hamstring strain. In case anyone failed to notice, while Phil Jackson has been peppering Gasol with verbal jabs about malingering, Bryant hasn’t piled on once publicly.
Bryant prides himself on overcoming injuries and attending to his body, so it follows that he respects those who can do the same. But Bryant has just talked about how everyone recovers differently and said stuff like he did late Tuesday night – without a trace of judgment: “One of the greatest players in the world. That’s what we’re missing.”
Even politically correct Derek Fisher took a little poke at Gasol on Monday. Fisher put forth the idea that the Lakers should give Gasol the ball on every possession when he comes back as a means for making up missed labor.
“Some of us feel like, ‘Let him catch up to the rest of us,’ ” Fisher said, smiling.