But over the weekend he was highly critical of management's desire to get rid of forward Lamar Odom. Last week commissioner David Stern squashed a three-team trade that would have sent Odom to New Orleans and Pau Gasol to Houston and brought Chris Paul to Los Angeles.
But Sunday the Lakers were successful in dealing the valuable sixth man to the Dallas Mavericks in a trade that doesn’t immediately strengthen the Lakers. Bryant isn’t pleased with the turn of events and the superstar let it be known.
“To be honest with you, I don’t like it,” Bryant said Sunday. “It’s tough to lose Lamar. Pau [Gasol] is still here, and we’re all thankful for that. It’s hard when you’ve been through so many battles with players to just see them go somewhere else. It’s tough.”
Adding even more insult to the situation is that the defending NBA champion Mavericks are the team that bounced the Lakers from the playoffs last season. Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who sent a first-round pick and an $8.9 million trade exception to the Lakers for Odom and a second-round pick, was one of the biggest proponents against last week’s trade that would have brought Paul to the Lakers.
“Especially to them,” Bryant said of making the deal with the Mavericks. “We were supposed to come back and get them back. It’s tough. ... Do I think we got too little? Who did we get? I don’t think Mark Cuban is protesting this trade.”
Lakers point guard Derek Fisher, who is seeing the fruits of his labor as the players union president, was also disappointed in the Lakers’ moves that could still also eventually see Gasol dealt.
“As a basketball player, it confuses you as to what your focus should be,” Fisher said. “I’m very disappointed and frustrated for [Odom and Gasol]. If I had my choice, Lamar would be a Laker for life.”
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