The future of Pau Gasol remains up in the air right now with questions remaining as to whether the Spanish star will leave the Lakers at season end.
And as a result rumors have circulated linking Gasol to virtually every team in the NBA in recent times.
But, while may doubt Gasol's future remains in the city, his long-time friend and teammate Kobe Bryant is fairly confident that Gasol will stick around with the Los Angeles franchise next season.
According to Lakersnation.com, NBC analyst Ric Bucher spoke to Bryant and learnt that on a scale of one to ten, the black mamba put it at eight that Gasol would return for the Lakers next year.
This contrasts to many people's opinion that Gasol will look for a new team after six years in LA, an assumption born out of the player's recent run ins with coach Mike D'Antoni and the fact that the Lakers may wish to unload Gasol's high salary.
The four-time All-Star will see his $19 million contract expire at the end of the season, and while this affords a lot of extra cap space for the franchise, many had assumed it would be used on new recruits rather than reworking a deal with Gasol.
Especially considering the fact the Lakers would be unwilling to give the big man a deal longer than a single season with the likes of Kevin Love available for free agency come 2015.
But Kobe clearly knows Gasol better than most of us, and his confidence in Pau sticking around is intriguing.
Gasol has remained in good form for the struggling Lakers this season, averaging 17.5 points per game (the team's leading total).
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