Lakers Rumors: Distracted Pau Gasol Needs out of Los Angeles

Kobe Bryant spoke to reporters after the Lakers' win over the Phoenix Suns last night, talking about how he feels the relentless trade rumors have officially taken their toll on center Pau Gasol, who finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds last night.

Bryant speaking up about the big man's emotional distractions means that he not only expects more production out of Gasol, but that he sees something wrong with his teammate that is holding Gasol back from being a productive player.

Gasol is averaging 16.6 points per game and 10 rebounds per game this season, but the constant trade rumors that he'll be involved in the Chris Paul or Dwight Howard sweepstakes seem to have him a little sidetracked.  We saw how that affected Lamar Odom earlier this season, and he is now playing for the Dallas Mavericks after he felt betrayed by the Lakers organization.

Gasol did not seem to feel betrayed during the postgame interview last night, but he looked to be quietly accepting the idea that his name could come up in another trade tomorrow.

For that reason, it is time for Gasol to think about leaving Los Angeles for a more pleasant and secure situation that does not have him watching his back for the next rumored trade.  

We see how it is affecting his play, as he is putting up his worst statistics since joining the NBA in 2001.  That could be because of Andrew Bynum's continued presence on the floor, but Bryant's comment suggests there's more to it than that.

If Bryant has to say something about it, we know it is a big deal in that locker room, which is why Gasol needs a fresh start somewhere.

The Lakers' front office is only stringing him along at this point.  Bynum is the future in the paint, and Gasol only bolsters that frontcourt down the stretch and in the playoffs.  

Given the opportunity to deal for Howard or another player that can turn this team into an NBA F...

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