Pau Gasol is going to be a Laker for at least a few more years, if Kobe Bryant has anything to say about it.
Bryant reiterated his stance at the London Olympics that he'll make sure Gasol won't be traded.
"If they want to get rid of him, have to get rid of me first," Bryant told Marc Stein of ESPN.
Gasol has been at the center of trade rumors for the past year. Los Angeles actually agreed to move him in a deal that would've netted them Chris Paul before the start of last season. Gasol would've gone to Houston, but David Stern vetoed the trade, keeping the big man in L.A.
The Laker has also been discussed as part of a deal that would send him to Philadelphia for Andre Iguodala. The trade was almost completed a year ago and there and has been talks about a deal being revisited.
For all the talk about moving Gasol, the seven-footer has experienced a lot of success during his time in Los Angeles. He's been a part of two championship teams and made it to three NBA Finals. He's averaged a double-double every season in L.A. and has been named to multiple All-Star teams.
The 2011-12 Season, however, was perhaps the worst of Gasol's career. He averaged a career low 17.4 points per game and was surpassed by Andrew Bynum as the most productive big man on the team.
L.A. featured Bynum more this past season, who is only 24 years old. Gasol is 32 and could be on the downside of his career.
Still, it's Bynum who's been in the most trade speculation of late. The Lakers have been talking to the Magic about moving their center to acquire Dwight Howard. Bynum is a free agent in the summer, so teams have been somewhat hesitant to trade for him without the center signing a long-term contract.
The Lakers might prefer to trade Gasol, but Bynum is a much more valuable commodity at this point. Also, Bryant is intent on his teammate staying in L.A., he likely won't be going anywhere.
Despite a poor postseason, Gasol still has confidence that he has what it takes to be a top player in the NBA.
"I'm a beast," Gasol told Larry Fine of Reuters. "Yeah, I feel pretty good. I feel strong."