The Los Angeles Lakers are keeping their big three of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant intact despite rumors that the team is committed to trading Gasol, perhaps in a move that would reunite him with his younger brother in Memphis. Jim Buss, the executive vice president of the Lakers and son of team owner Jerry Buss, told The Los Angeles Times on June 19 that the chance of Gasol, Bynum and Bryant playing together again next season is "very good."
According to the Times report from T.J. Simers, if Gasol moves anywhere, it will be closer to the basket for the Lakers:
What are the chances of the Lakers starting the season with Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol all in Lakers uniforms?
"Very good," says Buss.
So you don't agree with those who say the Lakers must turn Gasol into two or three players via a trade?
"No," he says. "I think changes are going to be made moving Pau lower to the basket. We can improve that way with a change in coaching strategy rather than a change in personnel."
As for moves involving other players on the team, such as point guard Ramon Sessions, who announced on June 19 that he will test the free agent market which begins July 1, Buss said it's the Lakers intent to sign Sessions, but the team has no plans for blockbuster trades or other free-agent signings, except perhaps to "improve the bench," said Buss.
Buss told Simers that Kobe Bryant recently had lunch with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and is happy with the current roster:
"He's already had lunch with Mitch [Kupchak], and from what I'm hearing Kobe is pretty satisfied with this team. If I heard differently from Kobe, it would put some doubt into what I was thinking."
"But I'm hearing he believes this team kept together can do something. And he's only got a short window of time remaining to win championships, so apparently he believes this group gives him the best chance to do so."
Buss said he will sit down with Bryant after the NBA Draft on June 28 and confirmed that the Lakers are in fact trying to move up into the first round. Currently, the Lakers own the last pick in the draft.
One of the Lakers biggest critics following their second round playoff loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games has been Magic Johnson, who made comments on ESPN about how the team should spend its offseason:
"Jim Buss, brother, you have a job to do. I'm telling you right now because if you don't do it, you're going to hear from me."
Johnson tweeted on June 14 that Bryant should call for trades to be made.