The Downward Spiral

Kurt —  May 30, 2007

In case you missed it — Kobe just asked to be traded.

(Hat tip to Nate Jones.)

I always wanted this blog to be a calm, thoughtful space in the swirling vortex of controversy that can be the Lakers, but I really lack a good big-picture view here. I have but one big question:

Why has nobody from the front office talked to Kobe in the last couple of days?

Maybe they have tried and we don’t know about it, but from what Kobe has said he has not heard from them. To me, that sounds impossible.

He went public right after the team was eliminated from the playoffs, and I doubt his exit interview was a love-in. Now, nothing is going to happen fast — Kobe knows big deals are not made before the NBA Finals even start — but how come he isn’t brought into the loop more on planning? Then, when he goes to the LA Times and ESPN and starts putting on more pressure, how is it nobody from the front office takes charge of the situation, gives Kobe a call and talks him down off the ledge? How are meetings not set up? How do you let a “Laker Insider,” whoever it is in the organization, pick at the one sore scab Kobe has, the trade of Shaq? How do you not calm the man that lets you have $350 seats not even courtside (and puts butts in those seats)?

That, as much as any trade or shot down trade, shows the lack of a coordinated front office. This is basic management stuff.

Now, to be fair, I have heard Kobe do radio interviews in the past year where he said he has been consulted on trades, where he said, “Al Harrington isn’t coming here and I was consulted on the trade.” He has not been totally out of the loop, but exactly what concentric circle he was allowed into is a fair question. To use my own analogy, it’s like trying to figure out the Soviet government what is going on over there.

There are roughly a million problems with trading Kobe, which we can discuss if this really does move forward. There are a lot of problems with the Lakers making any big move (namely the lack of pieces that can be moved). But to me, the ball is in Laker management’s court. I want to see them do something with it.

UPDATE:
Good point by Cary D. in the comments:

But Kobe is a hot-head as well. He’s not in the clear on this one. Has he ever picked up a phone (except to the press) to clear the air on a situation?

UPDATE #2: Nate Jones says one thing that crossed my mind as a possibility (and John R. said it yesterday):

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.

UPDATE #3: Trading Kobe will be very, very difficult. From the LA Times:

Bryant will obviously waive his no-trade clause, but he has a trade kicker in his contract that is believed to add about $13 million to his total contract value, a cost to be absorbed by any team that acquires him. The money would be paid like a signing bonus and would not count toward the salary cap. The Lakers had to pay a similar fee to Lamar Odom when they acquired him from Miami three years ago, paying him about $8 million.

UPDATE #4: Thanks to LG Gold for putting up in the comments the words of Jerry Buss (via Kevin Ding at the OC Register):

“We are aware of the media reports. However, Kobe has not told us directly that he wants to be traded. We have made it very clear that we are building our team around Kobe and that we intend for him to be a Laker his entire career. We will speak directly to Kobe and until we do that, we will not comment publicly about this.”

I think this supports what I said in the main post — Laker management has been too slow to react. They should have talked to Kobe already, they should have called him days ago.

Now, apparently, Phil Jackson has asked Kobe to calm down a little and wait a few days (via anonymous commenter who heard another ESPN radio interview). If Phil pulls this all back together, how much more power does this give him in the organization?

UPDATE #5: If you have not read the comments at True Hoop from Roland Lazenby, he gives his usual smart and reasoned take on the events, saying that the worst of this “Cuban Missile Crisis” can still be averted. (This is just a portion, go read the whole thing):

If I could do one thing to fix the Lakers? I would send Jim Buss off to owner school with his dad.

Shaquillle O’Neal told me in “The Show” that once Jerry West left, there was never anyone he could trust. (The hubris of the situation smells like the Bulls in 1998, when Jerry Krause determined to rebuild the Bulls.)

It’s a mess in the front office, especially if you’re a player in his prime who is ready to compete for a championship. (Someone pointed out to me once: with all the money the Lakers wasted on players like Brian Grant since O’Neal left, they could have paid Shaq his money.)

Jerry Buss is at an age where it’s transition time. I don’t know if anything can save it. The ideal thing would be for Jim Buss to stand up and say: “I’m going to let the personnel people do their job. We’re going to clear up the front office picture, and re-establish the trust that the players have a basketball person running the show.”

Kurt

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66 responses to The Downward Spiral

  1. God. Really no one garners sympathy in this situation. Buss and his front office might have found a way to run both Shaq and Kobe out of town. How can they not arrange a meeting before this?

    But Kobe is a hot-head as well. He’s not in the clear on this one. Has he ever picked up a phone (except to the press) to clear the air on a situation?

    My favorite player on my favorite team for his career i guess was a pipe dream. If just the players involved could have behaved as professionals, this would have been avoided.

  2. send him to the Knicks, see how he likes it there.

  3. Mannie Jenkins May 30, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    Once Dr. Buss gets out of jail, he should sit down and offer the heads of the entire front office, including his son, to appease Kobe. But something tells me his pride will spark and they won’t do anything to help matters.

  4. well john r is looking mighty smart these days…

  5. http://hoopsworld.com/ Pincus is freaking out going on about 24 hours now. The link is to the main site because its definitely high on the unintentional comedy scale to read each of the pieces in order. Dude is a good writer with reasonable opinions (otherwise why would I read him?) but those last 3 or 4 pieces are sights to behold.

  6. at this stage of escalation, tension, and finger pointing now reached, it really does seem impossible for the status quo to exist any longer, there’s no way the same team including Kobe, and the same front office including Mitch, (or Jr Buss) will all co-exist.
    seems to me like there are few options, Kwame and Lamar coming off surguries limits any major off-season moves…
    however, trading a (money) impact player like Kobe has to get very interesting league wide. (I noticed Dallas running a headline to Cuban, “call the Lakers, bring Kobe at any cost, including Dirk!”)
    team owners have to recognize he sells seats, so his high salary is justified.
    we have to get high level players back, and no doubt multiple high level players just so the salaries match.
    i guess every team in the league would be interested, I’ve already heard mention of Chicago… what about Orlando? (Howard?)…can we do a superstar for superstar trade? KB for KG?
    this opens things up a heck of a lot!
    looks to be a very interesting off season. John R, you just might become a fan again. I’d like to see us get back to TEAM ball again, not a group of guys supporting a superstar. TEAMS are what go deep in the playoffs, win championships.

  7. what a nightmare.

    watching the lakers play for most of the past decade has been a lot of fun. but man, this team has been unbearable at times off the court. and every time one of these things happens, i just feel like turning it all off for a month or a year. it’s not worth it. i love the lakers, i’ve been a fan for 30 years, blah blah blah, but seriously. who needs this kind of drama?

    if the lakers are a woman, she’s totally hot, and yet she’s a total drama queen. she’s the kind of woman who would throw a fit at a restaurant if her steak was overdone. she’s the kind of woman who would pick fights in bars with other guys on your behalf, and then get mad at you for not fighting.

    and you know what? right now, she’s not even that hot.

    i’d break up with that woman. why am i still with this team?

    kurt? do you know? why am i still with this team?

  8. Wait, on the second update…

    I said that in the comments yesterday.

    Whatever.

    “…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….”
    Comment by John R. — May 29, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

    Ignoring me is one thing. Giving Nate credit for what I wrote kinda makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

  9. The Lakers front office has made some awful decisions the past 3-4 years, but trading KB would be the worst. Jerry Buss needs to swallow his pride (and not vodka for once), pick up the phone and soothe this. And it starts by firing Mitch Kupcake.

    Kupcake gets his share of criticism, and why not? He’s been a joke of a GM. Fire him. Get West at all costs, and land Jermaine or KG.

    Kobe, chill, bro.

  10. 8. John R., great minds think alike. I figure that comment should annoy both you and Nate :-) That said, I added something to the update to be fair.

    7. Good question Dan. Like you, I hate the soap opera as well. I started this blog to get away from talk of who Kobe’s wife talked to at games. I can’t ignore Kobe asking to get traded, but I weary of drama like this quickly these days.

    And Dan, welcome back, did you bring us some Swiss chocolate?

  11. If this trade doesn’t happen, should we start printing the “Kobe being Kobe” shirts?

    Would firing Kupchak appease Kobe (and the fan base)?

    More “basic management stuff”… have a unified plan and philososphy and let your employees and constituents know what it is.

    This franchise has always been rife with drama, but a disjointed front office trumps a star player asking to be traded.

  12. kurt, i brought back a ton of chocolate. smuggled it back in my belly.

    and gatinho, to answer you, i’m not sure firing kupchak would make me any happier than trading kobe. both would just represent more reactive incompetence on the part of jerry “i shoulda took the” buss.

    yeah, i know. i’m dissing the head man now. i think this whole thing reflects on him. the kids are all in the back seat fighting — as they have been for the past seven years — and buss is just cruising along, listening to jazz, a bottle of whisky tucked between his legs, totally oblivious. and right about now it’s looking like he’s going to run the whole forum-blue-and-gold beater right into a ditch.

  13. I’ve been reading PJ’s book Last Season the last month, and I’ve realised how complex is Kobe’s personality.

    This situation scares me.
    Kobe is my favourite NBA player, he is a winer, and I want the lakers to win. And although I like Bynum too, if trading Bynum means keeping Kobe and win lets do it.

    But if trading Kobe is the only option I have that wouldn’t mean trading him for an NBA-Elite-In-Prime player but an NBA-Elite-Born-to-be player aka Kevin Durant.

    Kobe for Novitzki, no thanks. Dallas with Kobe would be waiting the pistons or cavs while sweeping all the western conference.

    If Kobe has to leave that would be for a future big name to pair with Bynum

    lets say the lakers orchestrate a 3 teams trade featuring the Lakers, Sonics and Celtics

    LAKERS SEND TO SONICS: Kobe Bryant
    SONICS SEND TO LAKERS: 2nd pick in 2007 draft
    SONICS SEND TO CELTICS: Ray Allen
    CELTICS SEND TO SONICS: 5th pick in 2007 draft
    CELTICS SEND TO LAKERS: Theo Ratliff

    this trade matches 1M up or down with salary cap rules and GM should make it match more exactly with fillers. also 2008 draft picks can be thrown in as a sweetner.

    in that case I supose the lakers start rebuilding with a soon-to-be star in the NBA as Durant and will also fill the Staples and would leave the lineup like that:

    Farmar/MLE
    Evans/19th pick
    Durant/Walton
    Odom/Turiaf
    Bynum/Brown/Ratliff

    Brown and Ratliff as expiring contracts next year clearing 21M in the cap

    for the Sonics this makes sense signing Lewis:

    Watson/Ridnour
    Bryant
    Lewis
    5th pick (Wright, Jianlian, Horford, Noah)
    Collisson/Petro/Sene

    Kobe would have an stronger team rather than staying in gold and purple so he should not veto the trade .

    The C’s get to win this year trading for a vet like Ray Allen:

    West
    Allen
    Pierce
    Jefferson
    Perkins
    and Wally as 6th man

    I really hate start thinking about that
    I wouldn’t like kobe to leave

    but thats the story that would hurt me less

  14. Might as well read up on trade bonuses: http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#83

    Looks like it will make his actual figure for next season like 22 million for outgoing matching purposes. BUT Kobe would be allowed to waive enough of his bonus to make a potential trade work so if he is motivated enough to get out, whats a couple mil when you are making 20 mil per? His number is still only 19 mil for incoming matching purposes.

    This is actually a good reason to trade him now that had I known I would have put forward earlier. His trade bonus is divided up among the remaining years of his contract. If it waited another year or two, that 13 mil gets divided only 2 or 3 ways instead of 5, making his total salary near the 30 mil range to be matched. Ouch.

    This is VERY complex.

  15. Congrats Kobe, thanks for bringing all the things I hated about the Lakers circus of 5 years ago. The best thing about this site was the emphasis on on-court action and off-court stategy, and Kobe has managed to force non-stop discussion and speculation until his situation is resolved, somebody call me when there’s a trade

  16. This **** is too much for my system. Time to root for a nice, calm, placid team for a while…

    And on that note, Go Bucks!

  17. F&*^$%#@*

    I’m completely flabergsted.

    and bring on the offers for 5 quarters for our still crisp $20 bill….

  18. You know what one thing, I believe, really turns the public in favour of Kobe on this case? It isn’t the Laker’s front office’s bad moves, it isn’t Buss’s recent arrest undermining his credibility, what it is can be summed up in one fragment of a sentence.

    When Shaq agrees with Kobe…

    “I believe Kobe 100 percent,” O’Neal said when reached in Los Angeles. “Absolutely. There’s no doubt in my mind Kobe is telling the truth. I believe him a thousand percent.”

    Honestly I don’t see where the Lakers can go with this other than to trade Kobe. Now we have to wonder where he is going to go, and I suppose that is the fun part.

  19. Ugggh!

    The team I have been rooting for (DIEHARD!) for 22 years is driving me nuts!

    You know what ? It starts from the top. Buss is becoming dimented in his age (was he going to drop that 23 year-old to the library?), and the success of the past 30 years has taken the form of partying, women and booz.

    Why should I continue to root for “this” team? MAGIC, WHERE HAVE YOU GONE?

  20. I AM AGAINST THIS TRADE AS A CLIPPERS SEASON TICKET HOLDER.

    Cassell/Mobley/Williams/2007 14th pick (The Clippers pick who the Lakers want then use the salary to help match), additional future conditional first rounder.

    For Kobe Bryant

    When Cassell, Williams and Kwame come off the books after next season the Lakers will be 15 million+ under the cap if they can resist the urge to use the MLE this season. They can sign anyone and start over with Odom, Mobley and Bynum and their shiny new free agent and their 14th and 19th picks this year.

    I know expiring contracts aren’t what they once were, but I think they would sparkle in this deal. The Clippers try to win now, the Lakers try to win later.

    Again, I would not actually attend any Clippers games with him on the team.

  21. 15. kwame a., I’m with you. This whole thing already makes me ill, and it’s just getting started.

    And for everyone else floating Kobe trade ideas: They will not trade him in the West if they trade him.

  22. Seems Kobe is not entirely as adamant about leaving as yet. Also, he is DEFINITELY on Phil’s side in all this and has said so multiple times.
    (All this from the Dan Patrick Radio Show that he just interviewed on. Also said he was taking his daughter to Ballet practice. Sounds very confused, tired, and distraught. Gives me the sense that this wasn’t planned. If it was, damn, that man needs to start casting for parts.)

  23. Well supposedly Phil has talked to Kobe today and asked him to let his emotions die down some and heads will indeed role regarding the “Insider” I wonder, can Phil save this?

  24. didn’t catch the whole interview, btw, just the last 5 minutes or so, so please take my words with a grain of salt

  25. Statement from Jerry Buss (quoted by Kevin Ding at the OC Register):

    “We are aware of the media reports. However, Kobe has not told us directly that he wants to be traded. We have made it very clear that we are building our team around Kobe and that we intend for him to be a Laker his entire career. We will speak directly to Kobe and until we do that, we will not comment publicly about this.”

  26. Derek Banducci May 30, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Assuming that the Lakers “insider” was Jim Buss, as I believe, there are three possible scenarios, none of which seem very likely:

    1. Fire Jim Buss, replace him with Jeannie and pull off a trade (of Bynum) that legitimately makes the Lakers a contending team next year.

    2. Trade Kobe, keep Jim Buss, and hope that Jimmy boy learns from the experience.

    3. Do nothing and hope that it all works itself out. (This only works if Phil Jackson agrees to mediate.)

  27. Yay! I’m in the main post! But seriously, that’s what Kobe said, and I think he’s reiterating it on AM570 as we speak with Hartman. He’s talked to Phil who told him to calm down and wait a few days, now Kobe is waiting to see what the FO will do. Also, he seems to have rescinded (though not directly) his statement that nothing the FO can do or say will change his mind since he has stated and restated that he would love to be a laker forever and that they need to do something (which goes back to what happened a few days ago and how all this crap started). Phew.

  28. Lazenby seems to think Phil is stiring the pot, because he wants a winning team as much as Kobe does:

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-24-132/Roland-Lazenby–Lakers-Must-Get-Front-Office-in-Order.html

  29. he’s not worth the perpetual drama.

  30. to 30:

    81. Yes he freaking is.

  31. Yeah Paul, you are crazy. He just wants to win. Nothing wrong with that.

  32. “But Kobe is a hot-head as well. He’s not in the clear on this one. Has he ever picked up a phone (except to the press) to clear the air on a situation?” Very dumb statement. I didn’t know players had the responsibility of GMs now. What is there to clear up anyway. The truth has finally come out. The front office for the lakers is nothing without West. He’s not coming back and i hope they trade kobe. I don’t understand the term hot-head either. I would consider Ron Artest a hot-head before Kobe. Kobe is the best player in the sport hands down. He was told one thing and another has happened. He has every right to be mad and voice his opinion, and hes doing it professionally. He’s not bashing anyone or calling anyone names. He’s not putting the blame on anyone. He is stating what he was promised and showing that none of it has followed through. I became a lakers fan because of Kobe and I will stop being a Lakers fan because of Kobe as well. Screw the front office.

  33. If the Lakers keep Kobe after all this, they might as well all assume permanent bent over positions. I still don’t believe he’s gone until he’s gone, but dude has said some things that aren’t easily taken back.

  34. Also, I am not certain they can keep him out of the West. My most likely destination is still Chicago.

    I mean, it was just yesterday when we were all CERTAIN he wasn’t demanding a trade. If the Lakers are truly rebuilding, it doesn’t matter what conference they help since it will be 2 years before they are competing anyway.

  35. Hey everybody!!!!!!!
    If anybody missed Kobe on the loose Cannons today… they will reair the interview at 2 and 3pm on am 570.

    Everybody must listen.

    Kobe says he wants to stay but the Lakers must SHOW him that they want to improve.

    Apparently Phil calmed Kobe down after the demand this morning.

  36. I blame Smush Parker.

  37. the lazenby take was pretty good i think.

    there is so much going on right now and so much unknown that it’s hard to know what’s what. The Lakers front office has been pretty stagnant the past few years (did you see all of us trying to suggest trades and signings on this very blog) and i’m going to try and not repeat anything that was said already.

    i really do hope lazenby is right and that maybe kobe can be talked down. He’ll certainly have to account for his words which basically implied that the rest of the lakers players are garbage if he stays. (hard to build team unity when you just called everyone a loser.)

    If there is a trade, I hope it isn’t to chicago. i don’t see how deng is equivalent to kobe. (i also don’t see how many chicago fans can say don’t trade deng for kobe, as if deng somehow has more potential than kobe’s current status.) i’d rather see a trade with phoenix or dallas or a trade to acquire dwight howard or maybe tmac. phoenix and dallas have players worth trading for. it would suck to get those five quarters back for the crisp twenty dollar bill.

    after seeing what we got for shaq, after seeing the moves we’ve made in the past few years (kwame for caron anyone?), and after seeing the rudy t experiment, i can’t say i’ve got great confidence in the organization to handle this properly. seems like everyone else is really uneasy with crazy uncle bob at the nuclear detonation controls as well.

    does anyone else not buy the whole “i was promised a winning team, and that’s why i signed with the lakers” line that kobe has been floating lately? as if the money wasn’t a factor (and it’s not like those teams are any good either).

    i’ve been really receptive to all the different “takes” that people have on the situation and the lakers front office. I never noticed how disjointed the lakers front office was before all this stuff was happening…but kurt pointed out the lack of communication that seems to be happening in yesterday’s post. Never thought that kobe could be orchestrating this whole thing chess style. keep them coming. just don’t read the true hoops comments that say, trade kobe for starbury, q rich, and frye.

  38. Kobe at ESPN

    ‘I Want To Be A Laker’

    Earlier today, Kobe Bryant said he wanted to be traded, but on The Dan Patrick Show he had a slight change of heart

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/index

  39. it’s weird to see kobe so human…so frustrated… and so indecisive about what he wants. He sounds like us. We want something to happen but we don’t know what. we want something to happen now, but we don’t know how to do it. we’re so used to kobe as the decisive playmaker it’s certainly a change of pace.

  40. This has been the worst day ever. I’m about to have a heart attack.

    If the Lakers trade Kobe, that means that Kobe is right and that we are not trying to win right now. How is a Laker fan supposed to keep watching when we know that we are not giving it 100%?

    Can we start a FIREMITCH.com please?

  41. From Henry Abbott:

    UPDATE: ESPN’s Greg Anthony says on Outside the Lines that he has talked to Kobe Bryant. Anthony reports that Bryant tells him he will rescind his trade demand if the Lakers terminate whoever was responsible for the leaked rumor that Bryant was responsible O’Neal’s departure.

  42. 42. I think the identity of the leaker is known to Kobe and many others. I’m not a huge Joe McDonald fan but he said the other night that whoever said that to Heisler also said it to him, that they were purposely pitching this angle of the story. As he tends to, Kobe is calculating and knows what he wants and who he is going after.

  43. http://www.bodog.com/sports-betting/nba-player-props.jsp Bodog odds on destinations.

    If Kobe gets someone fired and stays, how is everyone else who remains not afraid of Kobe? Better not dare suggest he pass more or work on finishing with his left hand. He’ll be the Lakers’ own Anthony Fremont.

    Meeting that demand and keeping Kobe now is an ultimate display of weakness.

  44. So who is he going after? Is it Mitch or Jim?

  45. I appreciate all the updates, and I want the team to end up on its feet and in a position to improve, but this somewhat ridiculous. I feel no sympathy for any parties involved, especially Kobe, and I find it insulting that he has created ANOTHER spectacle where it ends up being Kobe Watch ’07, and a new piece of the story breaks every 10 minutes. He is acting like a child that is upset that teams, teams not that much better than the Lakers could be (Utah, Cleveland), are still playing. Now all attention is off the game and individualism wins again.

    How many apologies did Patrick Ewing get, or Barkley or KG, or any other star on a mediocre team. For Kobe to act like he’s the only person who desrves to be in a winning environment, 24/7, 365 is self-serving a narrow-minded, he gets paid to play a game, stop acting like some real trust bond was broke and move on

  46. Based on Mr. Lazenby’s comments and Henry from TH, it becomes more evident to me that this is about cleaning up the mess that is the front office.

    Daddy Buss needs to “take the T-bird away” from Jimmy and give it back once Kobe’s gone.

    Could it be anybody but Mitch that leaked this rumor? I don’t think Kobe wants John Black fired. Buss has shown that he is not so Machiavellian to fire his own son. Quite the opposite, but he does need to reigned in.

  47. i don’t think it’s mitch. from the very beginning mitch has always said the decision not to resign shaq was jerry buss’ decision.

  48. Derek Banducci May 30, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    if kobe is successful at getting the owner’s son fired, then he truly has become a jedi-master of media relations.

  49. By saying he wants whoever leaked that to the times fired or he wants to be traded he’s basically put the Lakers front office in a position where they will HAVE TO fire whoever leaked the info. Because if they don’t Laker fans are going to burn down staples center.

  50. I doubt it’s Jim Buss that leaked ..only because even Kobe has to know he doesn’t have the power to hand the pink slip to the owner’s son
    All of these demands are getting ridiculous though, I mean..has a player in any sport ever gone off like this?

  51. They probably have, but it was behind closed doors.

    Well said kwame a.

    It’s amazing that in our information age that people still choose to try to work out their problems through media outlets.

    Is it possible that Kobe lost sight of the fact that the Buss’ along with wanting to win are ultimately running a business.

    Anybody out there in the “real” business world surprised or feel like trust was broken when they are manipulated?

  52. Kobe making the demand that they fire the insider has me thinking one of two things:
    a) If he knows the guy is fireable, then once they do, doesn’t he lose any of his vindicated leverage for future trade demands? Once they make an irreversible decision like that to appease him, no way he can still walk away and look like the good guy.
    or
    b) If he knows the guy is off-limits, then it’s part of his larger plan to make it look like management forced his hand.

    He has to know one way or another what he’s doing though, right?

    I’m still sort of in shock, don’t see how this can end well. I’ll start worrying about what kind of package the Bulls can offer in a week if West isn’t back in full control.

  53. “#

    From Henry Abbott:

    UPDATE: ESPN’s Greg Anthony says on Outside the Lines that he has talked to Kobe Bryant. Anthony reports that Bryant tells him he will rescind his trade demand if the Lakers terminate whoever was responsible for the leaked rumor that Bryant was responsible O’Neal’s departure. ”

    They’re going to terminate Kobe’s contract? Kobe’s silence as Buss told him that he was passing on Shaq’s contract extension sealed Shaq’s fate.

  54. 54. KD, Kobe wants the leaker fired or he’ll ask for a trade. He also said he knows who the leaker is (I think it’s an open secret in the organization, although I do not know). It’s all part of the power play.

  55. Gat I don’t know what exposure you’ve had to the business world but trust remains a very serious part of it. You can’t go around subverting a client and besmirching his reputation while expecting no repercussions when it finally comes into the light. You can’t promise something to make someone sign an agreement to work strictly though you and take it back, whether it was written down or not. A verbal agreement may not hold well in court but just like anything else in a capitalist system the business side will bite you in the butt if you don’t follow through. Your seeing the evidence of it right now. They’re not the people the fans cheer, Kobe is. Upset him, mess with him and your going to mess with the people who happen to keep the money in your pockets.

    As atheletes become their own franchises (just look at LeBron and Warren Buffet getting together) they’re going to realize their worth and their worth to a team. If LeBron deciedes to leave Clevland what does that do to team other then destroy any future till the next super draft pick?

  56. I know, I’m just saying that this “insider” tripe is all a (smart, and needed) ploy on Kobe Bean’s end. He’s not upset with the “insider,” he’s upset with the starting center, and last year’s starting point guard, and the team’s cap situation, and the inability to add a star or semi-star without losing LO.

    The faux-consternation about the “Laker insider” is just a convenient smokescreen in place to draw attention to more important, more pressing concerns.

  57. KD,

    Obviously great minds think in similar ways:

    http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/05/30/kobe-bryant-media-relations-genius/

    And what are you going to do now that Kevin Durant is around? It won’t be long before everyone in the league is calling him KD…

  58. Nate, Henry Abbott asked me the same thing a few days ago. People started calling me “KD” in high school, and I think the only reason they did it is because certain guys feel a little skeeved out calling another guy “Kelly.” Then I started ending my emails with it in 1997, and it was all over after that.

    Now I know how Kareem felt when Karim Abdul-Jabbar came along. I’m in trouble.

  59. It has been dismaying seeing the general consensus about the Lakers. Geezaloo, they were completely decimated by injuries this year. They played a segment of this season practically without an entire frontline. 3 of our 5 starters were effed up in the playoffs.

    This is good though. Kobe’s tantrum puts pressure on everybody to improve.

    Keep Kobe. Find a couple more pieces this summer. Keep the nucleus together that has learned through all this. Focus almost entirely on freaking defense for training camp.

    Yes, whoever said it, we aren’t that far away from being as good as Utah.

  60. I love Kobe I really do, but in all of this we have no reaction at all from any of his teammates. Are they not being contacted by the media or are they not bothering to say anything in fear of being axed for offending Kobe like said insider?

    Kobe is in my eyes top5 all time but right now he’s just being a dick and not thinking of all the other players on the team and the effects of his comments on them.

  61. Yo Anthony — I’ve been commenting quite a while on this blog and watching the Lakers all my life, well before Kobe — calling my comment a dumb statement is a little too much, man.

    Your viewpoint is that of a Kobe fan first, Lakers fan second, not the other way around.

    I agree, the Lakers front-office is run pretty terribly, and Kobe is venting this as the main attraction for the team. He has a right to do so.

    The point I’m making is that if this was the first time I’ve heard Kobe go off, i’d give him the entire benefit of the doubt. But, he has a history of stirring the pot that, to me, transcends his role as a player. He has a very ‘woe is me’ attitude when dealing with other people around him. It’s very fatiguing, even now as i AGREE with him 100% about the ineptitude of the front office. This is a soap opera, and Kobe is the star, make no mistake about it. HE should have got on the phone with Magic, Dr. Buss, Mitch, and others and let them know he was going to do this before talking to all his friends in the media. He always let’s the media do his negotiating. I find it unprofessional.

    I am coming at this with Kobe being my favorite player in the NBA, hands-down. Sometimes, I just have to look in the mirror to see what’s going on and not be on such an “unconditional love” viewpoint.

    That said, he is a smart guy that might just be playing his best hand yet. If so, we as Lakers fan should get what we want in the end. I just don’t want to see my favorite player leave my favorite team based solely on sour grapes. If that happens, how can i not blame everyone, including KB24?

  62. Maybe this all goes back to the cake incident.

    WHERE WAS KOBE THEN? WAS THE INSIDER THE SECOND CAKER?

  63. HEH…

    Got to admit I laughed at that John R.

  64. The insider is Vick the Brick…