Kremlinology and the Lakers

Kurt —  May 29, 2007

Back decades ago, when the Soviet Union and the United States were embroiled in the cloak-and-dagger Cold War, there was something called Kremlinology. The simple definition is this — nobody really knew what was happening inside the very secretive Soviet government, so there were experts who tried to divine what was happening by reading subtle public cues. For example, who was standing near Brezhnev at the big May Day military parade meant a lot.

Trying to figure out what is happening in the Lakers front office usually involves some Kremlinology — Jerry Buss, good poker player that he is, tends not to tip his hand or thought process. The Lakers front office is really a pretty small group of people, and figuring out how decisions are really made is a bit of a mystery. How much power does Mitch Kupchak really have to make big moves? How much is Jim Buss involved day to day? There aren’t any May Day parades to see who is sitting next to Jerry Buss any given year.

More and more, this amateur Kremlinologist thinks Kobe’s recent campaign to bring pressure on management is part of an effort to get the various factions moving, ideally in the same direction. Recently there have been signs of a fissure.

There was Jim Buss on 570 AM saying he’s not sure Phil Jackson is good at bringing young players along (this after years where Jerry Buss had said he thought the triangle “boring.”) and says he doesn’t like Phil chastising his players publicly. Then his sister Jeannie Buss, who runs the business side of the operation and lives with the coach, goes on another show on that same radio station and says its ironic that Jim would publicly question the tactic of the coach to publicly question his players.

But I think the key thing Jeannie said is she had not spoken to Jim about this (and it was several days after the first comment). No communication there, and apparently not with Phil. Then company man Kurt Rambis comes on the same radio station and defends Phil, saying that Buss never comes to practice so how would he know how the staff works with young players. Then on top of it all Kobe brings up the specter of West (and now West is saying he wouldn’t come back and step on Kupchak like that).

It all reads like power is shifting some — Jerry Buss is giving up some of his and everyone is fighting for parts of it. Jim Buss is the heir apparent but as he asserts himself publicly (in a way his father rarely did using radio interviews) he steps on toes and finds people willing to fight back. Jim Buss said he would be willing to trade Andrew Bynum, but if (as has been reported) Buss was the guy who pushed for Bynum, he sees the kid or any fruits of the trade as his first stamp on the Lakers legacy. And so he is cautious in looking for the right move.

But cautious GMs tend to lead stagnant franchises. So do front offices where everyone is not pulling in the same direction. I guess we’ll just have to keep watching the clues to see where the needed leadership will come from.

to Kremlinology and the Lakers

  1. If we take hebisner’s comments in the last post into account – defense being the first priority – some of the inaction actually makes some sense. If we are going after veteran free agents, then we can do nothing before 1 July so why talk about it.

    Jerry Buss is not going to tip his hand early and all our talking just makes more ‘junk’ fodder for the newspaper ‘reporters???’

    If there is a lot of conflict in the front office, I suspect the first we will hear of it will be if Kurt or Brian leave for an assistant’s position on another team.


  2. I agree it is too early to expect anything to have been done, big or small. Well, save for not bringing Smush back. But I think it is safe to say the big move inaction is more than just something from the last month. There have been a lot of moves passed up, each one defensible but put together it all starts to paint a picture of cautiousness.


  3. Pincus is calling for panic. OVERpay for O’Neal.

    I’d say so it begins, but this was all forgone as part of indulging Kobe in the first place. It must be nice to be able to make demands and not care about if it is even possible to meet them or be accountable for results. Seems like what got Shaq run in the first place and this whole mess started…

    Blow it up. Maybe Portland is better right away. Seattle could make the leap. Maybe the Clippers aren’t mired in injuries and strife. Noone out of Denver, Houston, Utah shows any signs of slipping. Don’t become the Celtics west and make one desperate move after another to try to patch it now at the risk of the long term and just make or miss the playoffs for the next 5 years.

    Trade Kobe. I understand the economics of it to ownership, but thats the VERY REASON the fan should be behind it. Ticket prices being forced to fall hurts you how? The team will get deeper, better and MORE competitive and at the same time the fair weather fools will be driven off, at least momentarily. Be a smart fan for once. Take down that silly petition for Garnett and start one to trade Kobe. Give the tool what he wants now while the Chicago contracts are just right.


  4. i wouldn’t be against a kobe trade. he’s got an unhealthy grasp of the team both on the court and up to the front office and ownership. i’d welcome some more team-oriented players.


  5. Kobe is NOT going anywhere. From a financial point-of-view it is Kobe that puts the butts in the seats throughout the entire NBA. This puts money directly into the owner’s (read Buss) pockets. I suspect they would gamble on what will happen in two years, rather than forgo two years of materially reduced income. Other than the Kobe haters (read John R.), I don’t see the point of this discussion.


  6. The only way Kobe gets traded is if he tells the team directly he would opt-out after the end of the 2009 season, which would force the Lakers hand. But Kobe HAS NOT said that. Never say never, but he said directly on his own site today he wants to stay in LA, and Craig W, is right about him being key to keeping ticket sales up (not to mention jerseys) that the Buss family will do what it takes to strengthen the relationship and keep him. It just won’t happen overnight.


  7. Oh I’m aware of economics and that’s why I mentioned them.

    Here’s the fine point: What if the team does exactly what Kobe wants, and gets O’Neal (seemingly) at any cost and the team still does not improve? WIll he accept responsibility for this or will his demands continue? What if he continues making demands right up until 2009 and these demands keep getting met and the team STILL does not improve? Will he still walk? I bet he would and will.

    Is Kobe the kind of guy who would ask a team to overpay for players with giant contracts and then when it doesn’t work out, walk away anyway, leaving the team in total disarray?

    Yeah, he’s that kind of guy. We have the evidence that he’s the kind of guy who would throw Shaq under the bus when confronted with a rape case. We have the evidence that he’s the kind of guy that after he commits a turnover will take it out on Sasha and elbow him in the face while sitting on the bench. We have the evidence of everything Phillip said about Kobe in his book. Yeah, he’s that kind of guy.

    But he’s your boy. Forever and ever, amen. But lacking an emotional attachment and being able to see this doesn’t make me a hater. Oh no. It makes me the voice of reason.

    THAT’s the point of this discussion. There are two options: Go down the Celtics’ road and flop around for maybe a decade culminating in a most embarrassing and ultimately fruitless tank job, or properly rebuild which means trading Kobe. Stop trying to trade in the margins. The debate over what, precisely, is overpaying for O’Neal or Kidd is largely meaningless. The good of the fundamental direction of the franchise should be on the table. A family is fighting on local talk radio for chrissakes. Even Magic getting sick didnt have the potential for this much destruction.

    What if all that happens? Will I be still called a hater? Will I be the only one who “hates” Kobe? Or will you still find a reason to rationalize your love for this guy?

    Nah, I’ll be called a prophet. Should be fun to watch along the way too.


  8. Alright guys, heres the scoop –
    I just listened to Kobe do an interview on John Ireland’s radio show on ESPN Radio.

    Kobe was, in his own words, “Beyond frustration” and he said he was having a VERY bad week.

    Here’s what he is pissed about. First off, he is FURIOUS about the LA Times article today by Heisler that brings up the Shaq breakup again and blames it on Kobe. Kobe was so heated about that article that I cannot even begin to describe his anger.

    Secondly, he says that the Lakers apparently had a 5-6 plan that they are on that he DID NOT KNOW ABOUT. Kobe said that the Lakers DO have a plan, he just didn’t know it.

    He says what convinced him to re-sign was Buss’ promise to build a contender NOW not 5-6 years.

    He said he has no problem with Jim Buss calling the shots.

    He says his relationship with the Lakers is based first and foremost on trust, and right now, that trust is broken. The hosts asked him what they need to do to mend the fences and Kobe’s response was… “I DON”T KNOW”

    All in all, I am very concerned right now. I was not expecting Kobe to be so mad. I understand why he is and do not blame him at all. As Ireland told him, all he is doing is saying what every Laker fan has been feeling for the last 4-5 months. Ireland told him not to be ashamed for saying what we all wanted him to say (bringing back West)



  9. Hey guys.. Dr. Buss just got arrested.


  10. True, skigi. Guess the Kobe drama has gotten to his head.


  11. Heh. Cassell/Bryant/Maggette/Brand/Kaman probably has a good look at at least 2 rings, but he passed so he could run with Sasha, Cook and Kwame. The dude was about money then; not any empty promises to compete. Don’t believe the hype. He just wants out now.

    His bed.


  12. Kobe just went OFF on 570 PMS from what I’m reading.

    Just. Freaking. Wow!

    I don’t know what to think but it seems as if the Lakers FO have been selling us a lame duck these past few years.


  13. 11. I assume you didn’t listen to his interview. ‘Heh’.


  14. He’d think Kobe was lying if he said he loves his daughters.

    He doesn’t have much to stand on really, if anything at all.


  15. Btw, there’s a thread at that transcribes Kobe’s interview this afternoon with AM570 (the thread also includes a link to the actual interview). Kobe seems to be accusing the Buss family of lying to him about their plans post-Shaq (Jerry supposedly told Kobe that the FO would focus on winning now, while they told Phil in Phil’s exit interview that they had a 5-6 year plan for rebuilding).

    Kobe also said that no one from the FO has contacted him since his media offensive began late last week.

    Peter Vescey at the NY Post is reporting that Kobe has told the Lakers that he’ll waive his no-trade clause only for one team.

    Of course, Vescey seems to print a lot of unsubstantiated rumors and seems to hate Kobe, but it does seem possible now that the Buss family might decide to trade Kobe.

    It’s also interesting to note that Phil has stayed out of the limelight, while those who support him (Jeannie, Rambis, and Kobe) are either publicly criticizing Jim Buss or demanding that the Lakers make trades to win now (i.e., trade Jim’s favorite draftee, Bynum, for a veteran).

    Basically, it seems that either Jim and Jerry (who got arrested for DUI, btw) will decide to trade Bynum or Kobe this summer.

    Most likely Bynum, but if Kobe pisses them off enough, maybe even Kobe.

    Getting back to Vescey’s comments, Kobe has admitted he was interested in joining the Bulls when he was a free agent. The educated guess seems to be that Kobe might be interested in being traded to the Bulls. They’re the only team in the East with the resources to trade for Kobe and still be a championship contender, and presumably the Buss family would only trade Kobe to the Eastern conference.

    Something like Hinrich, Sefalosha, Nocioni, Tyrus Thomas, and the #9 pick for Kobe and Farmar might work for both teams. The Bulls would need to use their MLE on a vet big, but their lineup would be: Kobe, Gordon, Duhon and Farmar as the guards; Deng as the SF; and Big Ben, PJ Brown (if he doesn’t retire), and MLE Big as the bigs.

    The Lakers could then trade Lamar to, say, Boston for the #5 pick and an ending salary (Ratliff maybe).

    So the Lakers would be:

    C: Bynum, Mihm (resigned), Kwame (injured)
    PF: Tyrus Thomas, Turiaf, Cook
    SF: Nocioni, Walton (resigned), Radmanovic
    SG: Evans, Sefalosha, #9 pick (e.g., Nick Young)
    PG: Hinrich, #19 pick (e.g., the Georgia Tech PG or Gabe Pruit)

    The Lakers wouldn’t be great, but they’d be a deep, scrappy team, with the potential to become really good, depending on the development of Bynum and Thomas.


  16. I forget about including the #5 pick in my hypo above. Maybe draft Brewer with the #5 pick and someone like Noah with the #9 pick. Both would be good fits in the triangle.


  17. I didn’t listen. I was reacting to #8. If that info was inaccurate, just say so. I don’t think it is.

    I do know that if I went all over town calling my bosses liars I wouldn’t expect to have a job. Who needs to make demands when you can publicly drive stakes?


  18. Derek Banducci May 29, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    24 minute audio interview available at:


  19. Keeping with the Kremlin theme, Jerry Buss is transforming into Boris Yeltsin — a formerly powerful figure beloved by many who became a figurehead overcome by alcohol. Of course, I have no idea if Buss is an alcoholic, but….


  20. 17. Well that’s pretty bold of you making a big statement like that. Doesn’t surprise me really, your opinion is based on assumptions.


  21. What was bold of me and why? There are alot of pronouns in these comments right now, but not alot of facts or opinions.

    Lets put this another way:

    If I am Kobe Bean Bryant, and I am stuck playing for a team going nowhere and I want out but I can’t get out because I am the main attraction, how would I behave? I do want out, but I don’t want the fans to turn against me. How would I behave?

    I just might spend a few days making and denying trade demands then when that’s not enough go all over local talk radio and trash management to the brink of calling them liars thereby eliciting pity from the faithful and placing the blame on the organization while simultaneously disendearing myself to the check writer who might happen to be the father of those called liars.

    But that’s just me, and obviously Kobe.

    Time to see the forest for the trees. This is actually pretty amazing. This morning I was truly on board with the economic reality of the Lakers seeing Kobe as untradeable and then he goes and trashes them. I don’t see how as of this evening he hasn’t become less untradeable. The timing is delicious.


  22. If your boss promises you a promotion after a year’s work, and he doesn’t stick with that promise, would you not be pissed?


  23. I listened to both interviews and If a laker “insider” was quoted as blaming Kobe for getting Shaq traded when in fact Jerry Buss told Kobe that HE had made the decision and it was final, then I don’t blame Kobe for going public.

    IF what Kobe says is true, that players called him and wanted to come to the Lakers to play with him, and then managment for one reason or another doesn’t do anything much to get one of them (Baron Davis, Artest, Boozer) when any one of them would be a significant upgrade, then I don’t blame Kobe one bit for going public with all of this.

    IF the Laker managment told him they would do all they can to make this team a contender QUICKLY, and then they tell Phil that they have a 6 year plan, Then I don’t blame him for going public.

    Lakers, spend the money and get some players to make this a contending team NOW.


  24. i love phil, but if he knew that FO was in a 5-6 year mode, why sign a contract for 3 that seems odd, this is def a move by kobe to shake things up, there is an extreme sense of urgency with those no1. and 2 picks comming to the pacific (not to mention a decent showing in the playoffs with 2 teams from the division making it into the 2nd round), which makes me feel even more so than ever that nba is rigged, if god forbid a trade does happen and kobe comes east, nba wins…lakers lose, we thought we couldn’t get equal value for shaq, and we obviously got the raw end of the stick but i’m ok with that because i think at the end of the day shaq is going to do what shaq wants, he must have had some inclination that he wasn’t wanted by the FO, hence the demand for trade, and its easy to make Kobe the scapegoat, it just is for so many reasons….Fact is, yes shaq is the common demonitor in all of his championships followed by a dominat 2 guard and hall of fame coach. I don’t think its luck that possibly the greatest center of all time goes from Penny, to Kobe, to DWADE. Sending Shaq to Miami essentially gift-wrapped an NBA Championship to the city of miami, it took him what 2 years, no surprise, if Pat R. was coaching the first squad they might have 2, point is give Kobe some more talent and you will get the same results, lakers have 2 peieces of that formula, get him some dang help PLEASE, i am a major laker/kobe supporter, character issues aside (doesn’t bother me personally), everyone on the planet has RESPECT for that mans drive, intensity, and GAME bar-none, he’s like Peter Parker in Spider-Man3, he just got rid of the black suit, and is about to go against sandman and venom, not even your friendly neighborhood spider man could take both of em out, and save Mary Jane…or could he?

    Side note on the convo by Kobe with the radion station, if B. Diddy wanted to come to L.A. for less money shame on Lakers FO, he was ballin this post-season, i tend to agree with his risks, Boozer again…Ballin, Arbut test not so much, but that’s because he plays for sacto, he would have made a great addtiion/experiment, and Caron Butler, that was the icing on the Cake for me, if he was working out with Kobe, all-star, enough said.


  25. John R., all I xan say is, amen. Many of us devoted Laker fans have been saying the same things elsewhere and have been similarly derided as “haters.” The die was cast years ago with the O’Neal trade whichm, if it weren’t made at the request of Kobe, it was made as an inducement to Kobe. The guy has been given so much his entire career, and so indulged, I can see why he believed the Lakers could conduct a fire sale of its greatest asset in 20 years AND spend gobs of cash iot doesn’t have to build yet another team around him. I think this thing is going to deteriorate really fast.


  26. Miuddywood: Why do you think Buss went out of his way to TELL Kobe that Shaq would be traded? Because Buss knew that is what Kobe wanted before he’d resign. Kobe may not have demanded the trade outright, but everyone knew that’s what he wanted. So it happened. Hastily. And the team pays for it to this day. And then we all wonder why the team has the best player in the league and STILL STINKS.


  27. I cannot believe we are still commenting on the Snaq trade. Kobe’s comments on the FO, true or not, will do damage to the Laker offseason.


  28. Can somebody remined me why the Lakers picked up the 3rd year option on Kwame Brown’s contract and resigned Sasha and Cook. Laker management has lost some luster lately.


  29. Hmmm, how long would it take for 12 monkeys to type out the stories that will be written about the Lakers this off season? Oh well, I suppose a little MacBeth never hurt anyone. Purple is a royal color. But seriously, think about this. The NBA Conference Finals are happening right now. Yesterday, the front page of was filled with Lakers/Kobe stories. We’d had a reprieve for a bit after the Shaq trade. I’d almost forgotten.

    Everything in LA is scripted.


  30. Exiled, Shaq made his own bed when he yelled at Jerry Buss and the crowd, during a game, to “pay me my money”. Shaq called out his boss, in front the the bosses customers. If you think that works in the real world, then give it a try.
    I’ll bet, in Buss’ mind that Shaq was going to be traded from that day on. It was the smart business decision. Shaq had won his titles and wasn’t motivated to stay in shape any more. And you look at him now at Miami with his injuries and thats what the lakers would’ve been dealing with, but worse.
    So yes, Buss told Kobe that Shaq was gone, and Kobe probably didn’t shed a tear because(if Kobe is telling the truth) Buss tells him that they will acquire the players needed to be a contender NOW rather that later.
    Now, someone here is not telling the truth. And I think Kobe is telling the truth because If Buss had told him there was a 5-6 year plan he wouldn’t have signed.
    The laker front office needs to make some moves to hold up their end of the bargain. Kwame Brown isn’t the answer.


  31. As a public service, anyone looking for links to the radio interviews and a rrecap should check out:


  32. a great yet not far fetch proposal from Warrenweelim of, as following:

    BOSTON GETS: 25.4M parts w/ 25.5M
    Lamar Odom – 13.5
    Jamaal Tinsley – 6.3
    Vladimir Radmanovic – 5.6

    INDIANA GETS: 26.1 parts w/ 26.0M
    Theo Ratliff – 11.6
    Kwame Brown – 9.1
    Brian Cook – 3.5
    Delonte West – 1.9
    #5 from Boston
    #19 from LA

    LA GETS: 31.7M parts w/ 31.7M
    Jermaine Oneal – 19.7
    Wally Szczerbiak – 12.0

    LA grants Boston a favor by giving them 3 veterans for them to win now while unloading the fat useless contracts and the #5. LA absorbs Wally to make up for the lost shooters, and will be an expiring contract the ff year.
    LA parts with Odom but gets JO in return while keeping Bynum.
    Fair Deal.

    Indy rebuilds with Danny Granger and Ike Diogu while unloading the contract of Tinsley. They get 20M worth of expiring, Cook and Delonte West as part of their new young core together with the #5 and the #19.
    Fair Deal.

    Boston wins with the trade. They unload the 2 useless contracts and sport the lineup of Tinsley-Pierce-Odom-Jefferson-Perkins.
    Great Deal.

    The salaries match perfectly (using 2008 salaries)

    totally worth forwarding to mitch, if you ask me.


  33. I really can’t see Boston trading their #5. It would probably be better for them to take a chance on the draft while blowing things up and rebuilding sans Paul Pierce.


  34. People can complain about Kobe all they want. But the main reason why the Lakers aren’t that great is due to lack creativity on Kupchack’s and Buss’s parts when it came to trading Shaq. Odom is a nice piece, but the problem is that the team is Odom and Kobe and that’s it. Odom is not a second option on a team that has no other scoring options. No one plays defense consistently. We essentially traded Shaq for Odom. Caron Butler was a nice piece, but he essentially plays the same position as Odom and had to be traded. Brian Grant was contract filler. People are saying Minny won’t to be foolish enough to trade KG for what we have, or Indiana, JO, or New Jersey, Kidd. But, hell we did it with Shaq! Riduculous! If Shaq wanted to go to Miami so badly, couldn’t have involved a third team in the deal so that we got another piece besides Odom out of the deal?


  35. Uf.. listening to those interviews was rough. At this point Kobe has a ton of legitimate gripes. I still can’t believe he wasn’t consulted about Caron; I assumed Steven A. was exaggerating about that before as an excuse to yell about something. Passing on Baron’s injuries and Ron’s attitude was somewhat understandable, but we really didn’t think Boozer could help at all? Really?

    I really hope this is just his play at getting them to bring back West with some urgency, but can’t help feel it’s started to sound like something larger. If getting West back in ANY capacity helps tide him over, do it. Can’t we get all these guys (Kobe, Phil, the Busses not in jail, Mitch, etc) in a room and sort this all out. How is the communication this poor?


  36. Well seems Shaq came out today saying he agrees “1000 percent” with what Kobe has said about his exit meeting. Funny, that doesn’t seem to fit with Kobe making his own bed.


  37. chris henderson May 30, 2007 at 9:22 am

    how about trading Kobe for KG?


  38. My comment about kobe’s bed didn’t include the word shaq for a reason. He made his bed by signing with the lakers instead of another suitor. He could have talen slightly less money to have been winning all this time but he didn’t. He made a decision to play for what a casual observer could see was a depleted yet way over the cap lakers team. His choice.

    His bed.


  39. it’s a shame that it’s come to his. the lakers used to be a class organization, and now the fo is fractured and turning on itself.

    someone from the fo has to call kobe and mollify him immediately. then they need to schedule a meeting, include kobe, and have a unified plan of action.

    if what kobe said regading boozer is true, then mitch has got to go. that is beyond incompetent.


  40. Shaq was fat, lazy and could be sold before he crippled the team with IR time. We traded him a year early, better than a year too late.

    Kobe is a killer, with the skills to execute.

    and as for kobe making his bed… the grass isn’t always greener. sometimes you have to turn down a job offer, because it isn’t clearly better than the one you have now…

    if it’s no better, then the chance that it’s really worse makes it a much bigger risk than staying with the situation you have.


  41. Kobe just said on Stephen A. Smith’s show that he’d like to be traded:



  42. Pfft and I’m the hater.

    Call me Desmond.

    I’m not a crass man, but to all who called me names when my only crime was seeing this coming a mile away, and I’ll keep it clean out of respect to Kurt…

    “**** ***”


  43. I only have expletives right now in my vocabulary.

    Talk about a disaster.

    Maybe the Clippers will take him and I gotta say this whole ordeal has in fact tested my loyalty to the Lakers as it currently stands. The Lakers as an NBA franchise is my team, but this FO is anything but what I want to root for.


  44. John R., I am a man of my word. I always give credit where credit is due. You called it. I just didn’t want to come to a Laker forum and here such negativity. But you did call it.

    The Lakers need to take two steps:

    1) See if there is anyway to rectify the situation. They didn’t do that with Shaq, and they are still paying for it today.

    2) If there is no way to fix it, they need to find the best deal possible for Kobe. The only problem is that Kobe has to be in agreement with where ever they decide to send him because of his no trade clause. Not a nice situation to be in.

    I think at this point the only way Kobe stays is if they hire West like today.


  45. The Lakers’s plan was simple. Cheap out, get under the cap. Keep the seats full with a signed Kobe. No intention of contending for a championship in the short term. Now Buss is looking at empty seats if he trades Kobe. Great job, Buss, you drunk!


  46. I certainly can’t see this going over well with casual fans either.

    A storied franchise that’s gonna take years to recover. Nice.


  47. Oh and if they trade Kobe, they might as well find another coach…


  48. Kobe’s been burnt enough by public relations in the past that he knows how to handle the media now. He’s playing all of us. I think he wanted to get traded but needed to make the Lakers look bad enough first to make him look like the good guy. And from what I’m reading around the nets, it seems like that ploy actually worked.

    Someone from the Lakers, SOMEONE needs to say something…John Black, where you at?


  49. wow. simply wow. so selfish, what the hell, wow. fine, go away


  50. Selfish Kwame?

    You’re promised a promotion at your job, a lucrative one at that and then they take it back and you find out it was only promised to you in words and only to you at that. So you decide to stay? I don’t think so. You take your ass somewhere where they live up to their promises.

    I’ve done it once already myself.


  51. warren (philippines) May 30, 2007 at 11:50 am

    Hey, u quoted me man. I wrote that thing. Small world.


  52. warren (philippines) May 30, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Hey, u quoted me man. I wrote that thing. Small world.

    I was referring to #32 BTW.


  53. warren (philippines) May 30, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    I am tempted to taste the pie but I must control myself. Or else I would be eating the whole thing.

    Controversy is so entertaining. This basically is the essence of Hollywood. Without it, you aint news. The recent media circus is a roller coaster of sorts. It is heart warming and heart breaking altogether.

    Say for instance, we go back in time. 1996 Draft Night. Nobody placed money on this guy from Philly, not even Philly itself. Instead they chose, Allen Iverson. Of course he later on became league MVP and earned a trip to the finals. True enough, in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory, son of former NBA player Jellybean Bryant came in at #13. In what I would personally consider an extremely lucky #13 pick from Jerry West or he saw something on this Kid, it was a blessed day for LA.

    (Oh for trivial purposes, Hornets are picking #13 this year, 11 years after)

    As we always say, the rest is history. But imagine Kobe playing in a small market team. Say the Spurs, who, later on came up with Tim Duncan. I bet they had the props to do a Divac deal duplicate wouldn’t you say? Then Kobe would not have been Kobe as we know of today. The same way MJ rose as a hero of Chicago and unto the whole basketball world. He would have brought equally as many rings to San Antonio as he and Shaq has done. And these events would not be all over the media. I say its Buss fault. I’ll say its Shaq’s. Heck I’ll even put the blame on Jerry West himself for having dragged Kobe into this. But the real culprit? LA.

    Hang me up for blaming the city but it is what it is. Bright lights and glamour. Never seemed to fit Kobe’s character anyway. He was always the quiet and loner type. Man I’ll even say he had culture shock of the phenomenon who was himself. It was an altogether hard to refuse lifestyle which you enjoy along the way.

    Shaq was a snug fit. He was the actor, the hero, heck he was Superman. The Diesel and Big Daddy. He calls himself somethin and everyone does. The LA prototypical guy.

    To sum it up, Kobe would not have been the Kobe we know today, if he wasn’t in LA (hey it rhymes). And lets just say the Lakers took the Cavs path. Mitch still would pick Darko over LeBron coz thats the Genius he is.

    Lastly, I end up asking myself this question: Am I a Laker fan or a Kobe fan? Those two things seem to be different entities nowadays.

    11 years later and reality sets in. Of course there is no point going back in time as it will never happen, but when you start to hear the tick get louder by the second, don’t you just wish you were somewhere else?

    I was right, I just ate the whole pie. Next?


  54. warren (philippines) May 30, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    May I add that Jimmy Buss delivered his promise: There will be BIIIGGGGG news for all laker fans. Its gonna be the Trade of the Decade. Its…… Kobe Bryant. Whew! And we thought Mitch could not do a mega trade. Well, we have to be careful what we ask for, we might actually get it.


  55. The Lakers should never have let the situation escalate to the point it is at right now.

    And because of that, they’ll have to overpay to settle the situation.

    It’s easy to cast the stone in the most convenient direction (Kobe)….but he’s not the guy who did:

    A. The lying.

    B. The personnel decisions.

    I personally don’t think Kobe even remotely wants a trade. But he’s prepared to risk it if that’s what it takes to force some kind of action from a prostrate and seemingly rudderless front office.

    So I’ll end this post by saying that if the price of Kobe’s happiness is Lamar and Drew….it’s a price this organization will play.

    Because Kobe brings more to the Lakers than just sellouts….he brings relevance. Lose the relevance, and you risk becoming the Clippers, a team that’s been better than the Lakers (on paper) for 3+ years, but it is still a blip when it comes to being noticed on the LA or national radar.