- (Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
Kobe's Bryant public feud with the Los Angeles Lakers' front office is at a boiling point as Pau Gasol trade rumors continue to circulate.
Kobe Bryant has publicly criticized Lakers' General Manager, Mitch Kupchak regarding trade rumors over Pau Gasol. In a video from SB Nation, Bryant called out Lakers' management saying they need to make a decision.
"I rather them not trade him, but if you're going to do it, then do it already," Bryant said in a post-game interview following a loss to the Phoenix Suns. "But if you're not going to do it, then come out and say don't do it."
Bryant went on to explain that it is difficult to play when a player feels like he is on the chopping block.
"You just feel like you're waiting to hear it, it's tough to put all of yourself into the game," Bryant said.
Pau Gasol is part of two championship-winning Lakers' teams, but is having his worst season. He is having the lowest-scoring season of his career, after the Lakers' wanted to trade him for Chris Paul before the season, according to the Huffington Post. Gasol is averaging 16.6 points per game and 10.7 rebounds in a season where he failed to make the NBA All-Star game for the first time in four years.
Kupchak, a former center for the Lakers' responded to Kobe Bryant's comments saying he knows how it can feel in the days leading up a trade deadline, but must explore every opportunity to make the Lakers better.
"As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player," Kupchak said. "Nonetheless, as General Manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come."
Kupchak added that publicly announcing his plans for Gasol would put the Lakers at a competitive disadvantage and be a disservice to ownership.
Gasol has expressed that he wants to stay with the Lakers, yet he hasn't spoken to Kupchak about his future since he was put on the trading block in a three team trade to acquire current Los Angeles Clippers' point guard, Chris Paul. Fellow Laker, Metta World Peace, says that players shouldn't question ownership since their job is to play.
"You can't really question (Kupchak), because he's looking out for the Lakers, and he does a great job," World Peace said. "That's his job, and we're supposed to go play."