Jeanie Buss believes other teams would have tried to ‘hijack’ Pau Gasol trade to Lakers if word had leaked

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers are known as an organization that attracts a lot of attention from star players across the league. Because of that, some teams have seemingly tried not to deal with the Lakers in the past to avoid giving them more of an upper hand.

Fortunately, no such matter prevented the Lakers from acquiring Pau Gasol in 2008. But Lakers owner Jeanie Buss believes that if information about the trade had gotten out before it was finalized, other teams in the NBA would have tried to put a wrench in the deal.

“I truly believe, had it leaked out, that there would’ve been teams in the league that would’ve tried to hijack it,” Buss told ESPN.

Another possible reason other teams might have tried to hijack the plan had they known was because Gasol was such a valuable trade piece. At the time of the deal, he was just 27 years of age and had already earned an appearance in the All-Star Game.

According to former Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, he called up the Memphis Grizzlies (Gasol’s former team) and gauged the possibility of a trade.

“I remember there was something written, or a rumor that he might be available, but it wasn’t the mainstream,” Kupchak told ESPN. “So yeah, I called up [the Grizzlies] and you can kind of tell when there’s real interest or when there’s not real interest.”

It obviously turned out to be real, and from there, the two sides worked out the details of a trade.

Luckily for Kupchak, Buss and the rest of the Lakers family, no other team did try to hijack the deal, and Gasol was sent to the Lakers in exchange for a combination of players and future draft picks.

The decision was undoubtedly the right one for the Lakers. Gasol played with the Lakers for seven seasons and helped lead the team to two championships alongside late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

In those seven seasons, Gasol averaged 17.7 points, 9.9 boards, 3.5 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. He was a three-time All-Star with the Lakers.

Along with Bryant, Gasol was the heart and soul of those championship Lakers teams. Since Bryant’s passing, Gasol has been an incredible source of love and support for the Bryant family. Indeed, his commitment to Vanessa Bryant and her daughters has only brought him closer to the Lakers faithful.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.