No one could deny the professionalism of Pau Gasol. In spite of being mixed in with trade talks on a yearly basis, Gasol has remained loyal to the franchise that has not always returned the favor to him. On Thursday, his loyalty was once again showcased. When asked about the trade rumors surrounding him this season, specifically with the Phoenix Suns, Gasol reaffirmed his status with the franchise.
Pau Gasol on trade deadline next Thursday: My preference would be to stay." Said he might be able to play again next Wednesday.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) February 13, 2014
Gasol has always preferred the Lakers, where he has had the most success individually and as a team in his career. Gasol helped take the Lakers to three straight Finals appearances and back-to-back titles in that span. His case as a Hall of Famer is getting closer to induction that not. Some fans may even argue he deserves to have his jersey raised in the banners with other Laker greats.
The best case Gasol has for remaining in LA is the support of a very influential team: Kobe Bryant. Since the team acquired Gasol, Bryant has been his biggest supporter. When Dwight Howard spurned the Lakers for Houston this summer, it was Bryant who responded with an Instagram post showing he and Gasol together on the court.
Whether Gasol will stay is a question that will not have a definite answer until the trade deadline on February 20 passes. Until then, much like every other season, the rumors and speculation will run wild, with Gasol right in the middle.