Hey, Kobe Bryant: Shut the eff up! They didn't put it in those words (obviously), but the Los Angeles Lakers just let it be known that they aren't going to allow their best player to tell them what to do with Pau Gasol in the month leading up to the NBA trade deadline. One day after Kobe came out and publicly supported Gasol by telling Lakers management to either trade him or commit to him for the rest of the season, the Lakers released a statement of their own indicating that they're going to keep all of their trade options open—regardless of what Kobe says or thinks.

"As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player," Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said through a statement last night. "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. To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage. Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team, and our many fans."

Or, in other words: You haven't been traded yet, Pau. But the Lakers aren't going to say that they won't trade you sometime before the March 15th deadline, either—no matter what Kobe says to try and force their hand. So, keep your cell phone handy and keep sweating, okay?

[via Sports Illustrated]

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