Kobe Bryant finds Instagram solace with Pau Gasol after Dwight Howard departs
Just the two of us, we can make it if we try.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant posted a photo of himself and longtime teammate Pau Gasol on Instagram shortly after free-agent Dwight Howard confirmed that he was leaving the Lakers to sign with the Rockets.
The picture, which shows Gasol patting Bryant on the head, bears the caption "#vamos #juntos #lakercorazon #vino." The Spanish words translate to "we go, together, Laker heart, wine."
"Vino" is one of Bryant's numerous nicknames, a nod to how he is aging well. Gasol, of course, is a native of Spain.
Bryant, 34, was acquired by the Lakers in the 1996 draft. The leading scorer in franchise history, Bryant has won five titles in L.A.
Gasol, 32, was acquired by the Lakers in a 2008 trade with the Grizzlies. Together, Bryant and Gasol won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
Howard, 27, was acquired by the Lakers in a 2012 trade with the Magic. He averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks last season. The Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Spurs after Bryant suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.
“I’ve decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets,” Howard wrote in a Twitter post. “I feel it’s the best place for me and I am excited about joining the Rockets and I’m looking forward to a great season. I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish them the best.”
Both Bryant and Gasol will enter the final season of their respective contracts in 2013-14. Bryant is set to make $30.5 million while Gasol will earn $19.3 million. “We have been informed of Dwight’s decision to not return to the Lakers,” Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “Naturally we’re disappointed. However, we will now move forward in a different direction with the future of the franchise and, as always, will do our best to build the best team possible, one our great Lakers fans will be proud to support."