Pau Gasol is congratulated by teammate Kobe Bryant after scoring during… (Michael Nelson / EPA )
Now that Dwight Howard has made his intentions known, preparing to join the Houston Rockets when the NBA's moratorium ends on July 10, Kobe Bryant quietly made a statement.
After "unfollowing" Howard on Twitter, Bryant put a picture on Instagram featuring teammate Pau Gasol with his hand on Bryant's head.
With the picture, Bryant wrote "#vamos #juntos #lakercorazon #vino."
PHOTO GALLERY: Dwight Howard and the Lakers
His message, roughly translated from Spanish reads, "We go, united -- Laker heart," along with Bryant's nickname of "Vino."
With Howard out, Gasol is far-more likely to return for the final year of his contract with the Lakers.
While the team will save significant luxury tax without Howard, the Lakers have only about $3.2 million to spend in free agency to try to replace the All-Star center.
Next year the Lakers stand to have significant cap room, with the potential to add two maximum players to join Bryant - assuming the veteran guard is willing to return on a discount from the $30.5 million he'll receive this season.
Gasol will make $19.3 million. Currently the Lakers have $77.4 million of guaranteed salary next season.
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