Kobe or Not To Kobe…..

Kurt —  June 17, 2007

In the wake of all the Lakers news of the last few days, commenter Reed sent in a very good breakdown of the Lakers options now including suggestions if the option is to trade Kobe. I think the underlying premise is the key — the Lakers have to chose a direction and go that way, and do it fast. Also, if trading Kobe, the key is the big picture. Here are Reed’s thoughts:

The plot thickens. After weeks of silence, Kobe reaffirms his trade demand to Dr. Buss. As noted everywhere, the Lakers are at a critical crossroads this off-season. They are not built to immediately contend, with extensive youth and pieces that don’t quite fit. But, they also have the league’s preeminent superstar. Kobe has issued an ultimatum to bring in contending pieces or move him. The Lakers and Pacers are at an impasse. Other desired stars do not appear available or are too costly – Garnett, Kidd, Gasol, etc. Where does that leave us? With Kobe’s demand looking increasingly firm and no impact trade in sight, the Lakers need to more seriously consider their options before heading into the draft and free agency. As I see it, the Lakers have four options this summer.

Option 1: Build a Contender Around Kobe Now

This surely remains options one, two and three with Lakers management. The Lakers need three things to become legitimate contenders: 1) Defense, particularly in the paint and at point guard; 2) Two all-star level players around Kobe (Odom would count as one), and; 3) Veteran role players who can defend and make open shots (think Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, Brian Shaw). It is possible for them to accomplish this. They do have significant assets (Odom, Bynum, #19 pick, Kwame’s contract, Farmar, Walton). However, in moving their assets for the right pieces, they would have to take on enormous risk, trade away their young players, and tie up their cap indefinitely. Every attainable veteran star carries substantial risk in one form or another (O’Neal, Artest, Kidd, Randolph, Camby, Gasol, etc.) It is an extremely high-risk, high-reward path. We need to understand that it could all blow up, leaving us with nothing if the team doesn’t win and Kobe opts out. As other teams appear very hesitant to trade with the Lakers without bleeding them dry, this option appears less and less likely.

One possible silver lining in the recent Kobe-Buss meeting. As Kurt noted, Kobe’s public rantings stripped the team of its negotiating leverage. If teams feel that the Lakers have no other options to trading for a star, they will demand overpayment. Now, it is possible these teams recognize there is a growing alternative — trading Kobe. Indiana is desperate to move O’Neal’s contract. If they cannot find a better offer elsewhere, they may now feel more pressure to take one of Odom or Bynum. The Lakers should quietly use this card in negotiation — make it clear that they want to bring in veteran talent, but also disclose that if the price it too high they will trade their unhappy lightning rod.

Option 2: Trade Kobe

Putting emotion (and the front office’s likely resistance to moving Kobe) aside and looking at the long-term effects of realistic Kobe trades, what are the Lakers options?

First, possible trade partners. Rich Bucher of ESPN reports Kobe has an approved list of three teams: Chicago, New York, and Phoenix. Phoenix can be dismissed out of hand as the Lakers would never deal to a divisional rival. New York does not have anything close to an appealing package of good young players and expiring contracts. That leaves Chicago. They are the only eastern team that can offer the Lakers any type of value and give Kobe a big market, competitive team.

Second, it is axiomatic that in trading a superstar you simply cannot get full value in return. Indeed, it is difficult to get 50 cents on the dollar. The Shaq trade taught us that. Fortunately, it also taught us a few other things. Kupchak made one critical error in the Shaq trade. He focused too heavily on the aggregate talent he received in return and overlooked the bigger picture of the trade’s fiscal consequences. That trade was a disaster not because they “only” got Odom and Butler, but because they completely sacrificed the team’s cap situation for three seasons by taking on Brian Grant’s three-year, $45 million contract. Yes, it was necessary and difficult to make salaries match, but it was not necessary to take on an ugly three-year contract for a player with no value. I would have much rather seen the Lakers take back less talent in that trade — perhaps only one good player — but receive multiple expiring contracts. That would have given the Lakers more flexibility to build around Kobe and use their recruiting advantage in free agency. Remember, NBA players want to play in L.A.

Third, trading Kobe would be easier than trading Shaq. He is younger, has more value, and his contract is smaller (making it easier to match salaries).

Three approaches to trading Kobe:

Path A: Seek a superstar in return. Chad Ford suggested the Lakers could push for either Arenas or Pierce in a three way Kobe trade with Chicago, perhaps netting the Lakers a lottery pick as well. This is the 80 cents on the dollar route: Replace Kobe with a “star,” even if not quite as good, and continue as before. Going this direction makes much more marketing than basketball sense. Dr. Buss knows that it is Kobe’s star value that keeps fans and sponsors committed to the team — even in losing times. If Buss feels that the team would be deserted without a seat-filler, then he may demand a high profile personality in any deal. This approach overlooks the Lakers fundamental flaw: veteran stars help create wins in the present, but the Lakers are a young team that needs time to develop. Adding Pierce, who is older and less skilled than Kobe, would just transform the Lakers into the 2006 Celtics. While Arenas is a little younger, it is extremely unlikely the Wizards would trade him and he is focused on more immediate success. So, adding a big star for Kobe would really just make the Lakers a less potent version of their recent teams. They would be running in place.

Path B: Acquire as much young talent as possible and watch them develop with Bynum, Farmar, Walton, and the Lakers other young players.

Path C: Acquire one good young player, draft picks, and position for big salary cap room. Develop Bynum and the young players for one year and then make a big splash in free agency.

These last two paths make more basketball sense as they would add pieces that are at the same developmental stage as the Lakers’ core. Two Chicago trades exemplify possible players and the future consequences of each path. As Chicago is the most likely trade partner in any Kobe deal, I will examine these trades in more depth.

I will assume three things in any Chicago trade: 1) The Bulls would be willing to take Radmanovic to get Kobe; 2) The Bulls would not trade both Deng and Hinrich in the deal; 3) PJ Brown would agree to a sign and trade and buyout to make the salaries match. For the trade to occur before July 1, Ben Wallace would have to be in the deal to make salaries work. While there is a rumor the Lakers desire Wallace, I will assume Mitch understands that taking on Wallace’s monster contract would be a disaster. Therefore any trade would have to occur after July 1 and include PJ Brown in a sign and trade. As this is after the draft, if the Bulls #9 pick is involved, the Lakers would not be able to choose the player.

Two realistic trades that work (i.e. trades that the Bulls would actually make):

Path B Trade: Kobe and Radmanovic for Hinrich, Gordon, Brown, and the player picked ninth in the draft or Tyrus Thomas.

The Bulls are the favorites in the East with Kobe, Deng, Ben Wallace, and other nice young players.

The Lakers have a core of Hinrich, Gordon, Walton, Odom, Bynum, Farmar, the number nine pick or Thomas, and the nineteenth pick. If they trade Cook before next summer, do not use the midlevel this summer, and renounce all other free agents, the Lakers will only have $38.1 million in salaries committed for 2008-2009. The salary cap projects to be around $57-$62 million. They would thus have $20-$24 million to resign Gordon and fill two other roster spots (leaving about $8-$12 million for a big free agent, depending on Gordon’s salary and draft signings).

Path C Trade: Kobe and Radmanovic for Deng, Thomas, Brown, Duhon, and the player picked ninth in the draft. If Thomas and the number nine is too much, Seflosha could be substituted for one of them. The key is Deng and expiring contracts.

Again, the Bulls rule the East with Kobe, Hinrich, Gordon, Wallace, and nice young players.

The Lakers do not receive as much pure talent back in this deal, but they receive a better player (Deng) and set themselves up for a big time salary cap run. If they move Cook, do not use the midlevel, and renounce all non-core free agents, the team would have only $31.41 million in committed salaries for 2008-2009, leaving $26-$31 million in cap room. If they resigned Deng for $11-$12 million, they’d have somewhere between $15-$20 million leftover in cap room to use on three roster spots. So, they have a core of Deng, Odom, Bynum, Thomas, Walton, Farmar, Turiaf, the number nine and 19 picks, and cap room for a max-level free agent.

The key to any Kobe deal is the Lakers getting both talent and positioning the team to quickly get under the salary cap. That is the only way to get full value for Kobe. Moving Radmanovic’s contract is critical. If he is not included in the Bulls deal, the Lakers may need to offer a draft pick with him to a team giving an expiring deal.

Why seek all this cap room? Because the free agent class of 2008 is going to be very Laker-friendly. Possible free agents: Garnett, Arenas, Brand, Baron Davis, Artest, Jermaine O’Neal, Maggette, and Kidd. Several of these players have strong L.A. ties. The Lakers could sign one to a max contract and offer to make them the face of a franchise loaded with young talent. Add Garnett, Arenas or Brand to a core of Odom, Deng, Bynum, the draft picks, and the other young players, and you have a very bright future for a long, long time.

If it came to trading Kobe, I’d push for Path C. Take less talent, but set the team up for max cap room the following summer. Don’t repeat the mistakes of the Shaq trade. Yes, Deng, Thomas, Duhon, and a draft pick is 50 cents on the dollar for Kobe. But, look at the bigger picture. Deng, draft picks, and a max free agent not only replaces most of Kobe’s value, it allows the team to put together pieces that fit and develop on the same timeline. With an assortment of valuable young assets, Odom’s expiring contract, and big cap room, the Lakers would be incredibly well positioned next summer to trade, consolidate talent, sign free agents, etc.

Option 3: Overpay to Keep Kobe Happy

If the Lakers cannot bring in two stars (or one and keep Odom), but absolutely refuse to trade Kobe, they are in a no-win situation. If they stand pat, Kobe will likely demand out. If teams demand the house for a star (i.e. Odom and Bynum for O’Neal), the Lakers are left without enough to break into the top tier of the West — meaning they have traded away their assets for nothing. The one possible good outcome here is if overpaying for O’Neal placates Kobe and then someone like Garnett comes to the rescue for the midlevel next summer. While this would be wonderful, it is extremely unlikely and not the type of path a GM can reasonably take.

Option 4: Maintain the Status Quo, Develop Bynum

If there is no golden trade to be made, the Lakers may feel their best option is to keep the team intact, bring in an NBA-ready player in the draft, sign a point guard with the midlevel, resign Walton, hope Bynum develops quickly, and use Kwame’s contract at the trade deadline. If the 26-13 first-half team is the real Lakers, this option makes sense. If the under .300 second half team is reality, this option would be a disaster. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. In any case, Kobe will not endure another off-season of tweaking so the question is moot.

Final Thoughts

In order of preference, I rank the options: (1), (2), (4), (3). Kobe is a special talent and he provides the team its best opportunity to win a championship. He is simply that good. But, the team should not abandon all caution in trying to build around him. They should draw a firm line in the sand when negotiating for O’Neal and other stars this summer. They should flood teams with offers for O’Neal, Gasol, Garnett, Artest, Bibby, Camby, etc., but refuse to overpay.

I hope the Lakers can find a way to contend with Kobe — I am an unapologetic Kobe apologist — but I equally hope they don’t panic and ruin the future of the team. If they cannot reasonably build a contender around Kobe now, they should quickly seek to rebuild by moving Kobe to the Bulls. Do not handcuff the future of the franchise by overpaying for players that cannot take us to the next level. Instead, take Deng and draft picks, be disciplined financially for one year, let Bynum and the other young players develop, and then make a big free agent splash next summer.

Unfortunately, the Lakers may need to commit to a path quickly. What they do in the draft and free agency hinges on whether they are trying to build around Kobe or retool. If Kobe is staying, they need to use their midlevel to bring in a point guard or other needed help. However, if Kobe is traded, signing a role player to a four- or five-year midlevel contract would be disastrous to any effort to get under the cap. Whether they keep their draft pick and the type of player they select also turns on their future plans. The draft and free agent signing period are weeks away, so the team needs to quickly evaluate its options.

Kurt

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132 responses to Kobe or Not To Kobe…..

  1. Kurt,

    I am strongly in favor of Option 2-Path C. Since it couldn’t happen until after July 1st, my guess is the Lakers ask Chicago to draft Yi if available. His marketing capabilities in both LA and China make him a great pick-up to help make-up the marketing slack lost in trading Kobe.

    Our talent level, although young, is raised substantially, but the point that our financial future is the brightest it’s been since 1996 is the key.

    I really, REALLY, REALLY hope they don’t go the “get a superstar in return” path because they would be shooting themselves in the foot.

  2. tyrus thomas is going to be special and compliments bynum perfectly. a core of bynum, thomas, deng, pick #9, farmar, and turiaf is awesome, plus taking PJ Brown and not Wallace would not screw us royally capwise. I honestly think this should be the path we take regardless of situations because its too late to effectively build around Kobe, whether he relents his trade demand or not. I just pray the front office is smart enough to pull something like this off.

  3. Kurt,
    Kudos to you. That is THE most insightful, well-thought out (even more then the “experts” at ESPN) piece relating to the Kobe Snafu. I salute you, sir.

    For the record, I would also perfer to keep =Kobe, but I’d much perfer option 2 to soften the blow. I’m beginning to think a trade with Chicago might not be bad at all with ALL that cap room, and if we land a big superstar next year? Dude, I’ll be stoked.

    Come hell or high water, I’ll still be a laker fan.

  4. No credit to me, please, that was all written by commenter Reed. He deserves your applause. He’s got mine (standing right now).

  5. I think we all want to keep Kobe, but Reed is dead on that the key if you move him is to set the team up best for the long-term future, and that does not mean bringing in another second-tier star just to get wins now. If you’re going to have to blow it up, do it right.

  6. By the way, happy father’s day to reed and all the dads out there.

  7. I totally agree with the option of trading Kobe to Chicago… No player was bigger than the Lakers, and surely Kobe is not.

    The simple fact that he demands a trade publicly, makes me not wanting him to stay in LA. We can get the opportunity to see a young Lakers team develop, and with all that cap room, we could possibly lure Garnett or Brand to lead a young team into the finals.

  8. Gee, maybe I should read the preface beforehand.

    My apologies, commenter reed- shifting kudos and salutes to you :)

  9. If the nuclear option of trading Kobe is considered may I suggest moving Lamar as well.
    Kobe,Sasha for PJ Brown(if done immediately his 2006 salary applies),Duhon,Sefolosa,Deng and the #9.
    Lamar to Boston for Ratliff,West and the #5.
    The 5 and 19 to Atlanta for the 3. Draft Horford.
    Try West or Farmar to Miami for Wright.
    Convince Phil not to commit suicide and challenge him w/teaching kids.

    That is one overlooked aspect of trading Kobe-why would Phil stay?

  10. if phil leaves I think Shaw would make a good replacement, he can still run the Tri but would be a better mentor for younger players.

  11. Like I said on Friday, it’s obvious Reed needs a blog. I couldn’t agree more with everything he wrote.

  12. We should mail this to the front office! VERY well put Reed (I was just about to praise you for it Kurt).

  13. You know, perhaps if Kobe had gone to college, he wouldn’t act like such a child. People always judged him as a person, and I’ve never fallen for it, but right now, he’s making it very hard to get on his side. He’s confusing the fanbase, he’s being selfish, and he’s being stupid.

    And could I really blame him? Basketball has truly been his life. He’s never experienced the real world. He’s the most naive, spoiled, basketball player the NBA has ever seen.

    I have a hard time believing that Kobe never knew about the Lakers’ long-term and short-term plans. Kobe got tricked by the organization, according to him, but Kobe also fooled himself. He fooled himself by thinking he could win a championship by himself. Until he realized that a single player cannot win a title, he decided to scapegoat his own foolishness and put full blame on the organization.

    I guess you could say that I have respect for Kobe the basketball player, but I have lost respect for Kobe the person. Or shall I say, ‘child’.

  14. I still think he could be lured to Charlotte with Michael Jordan running that team. They have the best possible package any team could offer us AND they are under the cap and can eat salary.

    Kobe Bryant
    Jordan Farmar
    #19 pick

    for

    Gerald Wallace (sign & trade)
    Raymond Felton
    Sean May
    #8 pick

  15. Renato Afonso June 17, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    That is really not a good package for us… Plus, if Kobe wants to contend, why would he go to Charlotte?

  16. Exactly…why would he want to go to Charlotte..? Charlotte is definitely not an improvement over our current Lakers.

  17. It’s a Michael Jordan team (his idol), there is another star there (Okafor), and they have cap room to buy more star free agents. I think it would be semi-attractive to him. And I love what it does for us…

    PG: Felton
    SG: Wallace, Evans
    SF: Brewer (draft), Radman
    PF: Odom, May, Turiaf
    C: Bynum, Kwame

    I would trade Kwame for another good player (SF), and we would also have room to sign the MLE. VERY good option.

    I love Kobe’s game, but I don’t like drama.

  18. Oden. Durant.

    You wanna win now, future be damned? Or you wanna build a young core to compete with those guys?

    Tough call.

  19. great analysis. i think you showed everyone here that trading kobe isn’t as bad as it sounds.

    i am a laker fan first and a kobe fan second. i’ve defended the guy for years. i’m getting over it.

  20. I wouldn’t take any of the options as presented. Whether in a car or a boat, a quick turn at high speed leads to disaster.

    As Kobe correctly noted, the Lakers have been hedging for some time. New York or Boston is not their style, but they can go either way.

    There’s an option 5: Go all out to get an exciting player in the draft (move up as much as necessary)–possibly Joakim Noah–then allow options to develop.

    It will do no harm to sign Walton and Mihm (if he’s healthy).

    Let’s call it “patient urgency.” Give all the managers their best shot for any option.

    In this way, other teams would have opportunities to develop packages to lure Kobe–or to trade the Lakers players that would be a win for the Lakers.

    The Lakers are in their worst of all bargaining positions right now. Time is on their side.

    Kobe may not like it, but he can’t opt out this year–and he may be surprised to see what a Laker team without the Smusher and injuries–or he may get a desireable ticket to somewhere in the East.

  21. The Truth” The 1st statement made June 12 on Kobes site saying he wanted out and the Lakers and he had 2 different visions of the future has been updates to June 17th, today.

    http://news.kb24.com/#311

    June 17 :: 2007
    The Truth: A new road ahead
    Wassup y’all …
    Man, today is one of those surreal days for me and my family. When you love something as much as I love the Lakers its hard to even imagine thinking about being elsewhere. But, the ONE THING I will never sacrifice when it comes to basketball is WINNING. That is plain and simply what it’s all about. It’s in my DNA. It’s what pushes me to work as hard as I do. It’s my daily passion and pursuit.

    The more I thought about the future, the more I became convinced that the Lakers and me just have two different visions for the future. The Lakers are pursuing a longer-term plan that is different from what Dr. Buss shared with me at the time I re-signed as a free agent. I have seen that plan unfold for the last three years and watched great trade opportunities come and go, and have seen free agents passed on. That has led to the Lakers not winning a playoff series. All of that was frustrating in itself, but then, this week to have someone “inside” the Laker organization try to blame me in the media for us not being a contender right now — that is what brought me to my current position today.

    I want it to be clear that I still love, with all my heart, the Laker Legacy. From Mikan to West to Goodrich to Wilt to Kareem to Magic. That will never change. And the support my family and I have gotten from Lakers fans is undeniably the best. I will also always believe that.

    But, now there is a new road ahead. I am gonna keep grindin and keep workin to get back to competing for Championships. Sometimes the trek up the mountain is tough. But, I know we’ll get there.

    Strength and Honor,
    Kobe

  22. Thanks Jones. I don’t think my job or family could sustain any more basketball-related activity, but it is fun to throw in my two cents here and there. Plus, you, Kurt, and others seem to be covering things quite well.

    I am convinced that unless the Lakers can pull a shocking, one-sided trade for a star out of a hat, Kobe will force his way out. He understands that if he wins another two or three rings (and resurrected a glamour franchise like Chicago or New York in the process), he could go down as one of the 10-15 best players in thie history of the league. He has the chance to establish a legacy — to join Duncan and Shaq as the dominant stars of the era. Any damage to his reputation by demanding a trade would be quickly forgotten if he finds a way to win again. He sees the Laker front office in turmoil and Lebron’s easy ride to the finals, and knows his best shot at success is by landing with a solid eastern team. So, I fear his departure is probably inevitable.

    The “path C” trade seems to offer a win-win-win for the Lakers, Bulls, and Kobe. It offers the Bulls a chance to retain much of their talent base to pair with Kobe, at the price of taking on a lot of salary. So Kobe gets his supporting cast, the Lakers get young assets and cap room, and the Bulls contend.

    But, I fear that Kupchak will be contrained by outside forces to pursue a “path A” or “path B” trade. While trading for lesser talent and cap room may make basketball sense, Mitch does not want to be blasted in the press for only getting “X, Y, and Z” for Kobe after flubbing the Shaq trade. Season ticket holders might also be reticent to be patient for a year or two while a young team develops. Hopefully, the front office sees the bigger picture, but we’ll see.

  23. Let’s keep in mind that another great Laker from the past also demanded a trade. It was Magic Johnson who came out with a trade me or fire the coach demand. Magic’s move actually turned out to be good for the organization, even if it was a very selfish and immature thing to do.

    I find it hard to swallow what Kobe is doing now. Yes, he wants to win. We all want the Lakers to win. The Shaq trade and Brian Grant contract really killed the Lakers for the first 2-3 years after Shaq was traded. Top tier free agents then signed with their respective teams (Amare and Yao).

    I have no heartburn with the thought of trading Kobe. I have thought that a Kobe trade (a good one like the one’s Reed has listed above) is really what the organization needs. Kobe hasn’t exactly been a good citizen while playing for us and isn’t exactly the best team player.

    vr, Xeifrank

  24. Is it possible to trade Kobe away, and trade for Jermaine O’Neal? For starters, i think its easier (both in the triangle and in other systems) to build a team around a C/PF than a SG?

    One of the things I keep hearing is that Indiana can take advantage of the Lakers desperation (although, isnt’ Indiana in a tough situation as well?) For the rest of the month, talk to Chicago about trading Kobe and Indiana about trading O’Neal. Maybe after Kobe’s traded, Indiana’s leverage over trading O’Neal would have dissapated and, hopefully, he’s still open to coming to a Kobe-less LA. Assuming the ‘path B trade’ and getting O’Neal for Odom-Bynum-Brown, the roster looks like this:

    O’Neal-Thomas-Walton-Gordon-Hinrich
    bench: Farmar-Cook-Turiaf-Evans

    adding Marquis Daniels woulnd’t be a bad thing, if possible, as he complements Walton and Gordon in many ways at a G/F position.

  25. 21. AP is reporting that as new too, but is it just me or is that exactly the same thing that’s been up on his site for like two weeks? Same to the letter as I remember it, complete with using the wrong “its.” Does his site just update it as new daily? What was added?

  26. The Lakers should just refuse to trade him. Take path 1 and just hope we’re winning by the time Kobe’s contract comes up. Trading him would be asinine.

  27. Matt at the always good Blog-A-Bull also is talking possible trades and his post is worth reading:

    http://www.blogabull.com/story/2007/6/18/11223/5073

    I think he makes one key point — Paxson knows that he is the best bidder by far, that the Knicks can’t come close and Kobe won’t go in the West. And Paxson is too smart to bid against himself, so he might try to lowball.

  28. Is everyone really sure Kobe opts out and leaves? At this point, any team that could give Kobe a max contract after he opts out will be worse (possibly significantly worse) than the Lakers (especially if Bynum developes at all). Is Kobe really going to reject a max contract from the Lakers or others and accept a mid-level exception from a good team? Sorry, I just don’t believe it.

  29. If Kobe is serious about winning titles now and that’s why he wants out of LA,how the f*** can he include the Knicks as a team he would go to? There are other teams in the East that are far closer to contending-even Atlanta-than the Knicks.
    I have this growing suspicion that the whole off-season temper tantrum is a manifestation of a severe case of LeBronEnvy.

  30. I think Kobe has overplayed his hand and lost almost all of his leverage.

    Both publicly and privately the Lakers were moving in the direction of a “win now” team. One sign was an expressed willingness to trade anyone but Kobe. Still, with some of the key trading “pieces” injured, it was already hard to get full value. Kobe’s outburts made it harder.

    In this context, a demand to be traded by Kobe makes things even worse.

    Necessity sometimes breeds genius. Indiana and other teams are likely to bargain too hard. Chicago is likely to bid low. Kobe’s going to be stuck on the 405 until traffic clears.

    If Kobe sulks and doesn’t perform, his value will drop. Key teams might not trade for him. If he performs well, he is being marketed every game. Kobe’s value might rise, and he might get traded–or the Lakers might complete some needed trades, surround him with talent, and the Lakers might win the NBA championship.

    It would be very foolish for the Lakers to be in a hurry right now.

  31. Phil is awfully quiet, the rest of the laker players are too, while I believe that this could be a good thing (less talk, less mistake) I also believe that it wouldn’t hurt that much for other players to ask kobe to stay (unlesss of course they don’t want him to)

    I’m seriously still hoping that this Kobe-drama is exactly that, a drama. I’m thinking along the terms that this is a script made by some hollywood writer that Kobe and the Lakers are following.

    I don’t know what good it would do seeing that as of now they are only losing trade leverage but well maybe they have that master plan…

  32. warren (philippines) June 18, 2007 at 3:23 am

    As much as I like the Chicago idea, theres something bothering me.

    Why did LA not want to send Shaq to Dallas? At that time we could have gotten Josh Howard and Nash from them.

    Why did we have to get Brian Grant just because we needed a big body?

    Why did we trade Butler for Kwame? Again for the big body?

    There is one scenario I like better – PHOENIX.

    The trade is Barbosa, Marion, Kurt Thom, #24, #29 for Radmanovic and Kobe.

    1. We will have 3 1st rounders at our disposal. Trade up or keep. I will somehow try to trade our 2nd rounders.
    2. We will have Kwame and Kurt Thom’s expiring contracts.
    3. Most Orlando fans agree to a Cook +48 for Arroyo trade so I assume it works.
    4. Marion and Odom expire the same time in 2009.
    5. We have a Showtime-like squad that is very dynamic in offense and defense.
    6. Walton can come off the bench.
    7. We have no contract exceeding 2009 aside from that of Barbosa’s and the recently re-signed Luke Walton.

    I know the Chicago deal might work better knowing they are from the East but I have given this deal a lot of thought. In spite of everything, I still want Kobe to succeed wherever he is. Ill now be a fan of both camps.

    But seriously, I doubt if Buss decides to blow it up. I think they will do a combi of option 1 and 3.

  33. I rather like your Deng option..IF the Bulls are willing to do it. I often wonder just how much an asset Kobe actually is. He is doubtless one of the best offensive talents ever, but at core he is just not a team player. He *tries* to be a team player with varying levels of success, but his natural style just tends to make others around him worse and not better.

    He’s like the kid you bump into on the local playground court. You start playing with him and quickly know “I’m gonna get a great show today, but I might as well relax since that show will throw my own game out of rythym.” He is so hellbent on a personal challenge between he and that rim that everything around him, including unlocking the talents of his fellow human beings, is sort of hazy.

    Its the same right now. “Im all about WINNING” Kobe says. That is the same thought as the one that keeps your mind locked on that rim and getting the ball in at all costs. What Kobe misses is enjoying the game and enjoying friendships first. That is what ultimately brings winning, but in ways you *don’t* expect. He WILLS victorys. He is the ultimate WILL player. Will, however, always falls short of the genius of friendship.

    Such is my philosophy anyway why trading Kobe is a good idea, and why I think teams may not give as much as you would think for him.

  34. Greate piece Reed! I would really put my signature… i really agree on everything. Kobe is really crossing the line here… Of course trading him would be a painful option… and even if we can get the team to have a very nice young nucleus and position to get a great FA we have to be aware It’s as risky as trying to build a contender now… since it’s not easy to win a championship without a great superstar! Detroit won just one year… Maybe keeping a disgruntled kobe until february’s deadline might be an option too to see if anything can be done on improving this team… or else trade Kobe and rebuild!

  35. Renato Afonso June 18, 2007 at 4:04 am

    I’m a ball player in my country, and if a teammate of mine publicly says he wants to leave because he wants to contend for the title and that ain’t happening where he is, then I’m sure not asking him to stay.

    I would do just what the rest of the team is doing… Keep my mouth shut and wait for the guy to leave. And if I could help him leave, I would surely do it!!!!

    The Lakers must do something, because locker-room chemistry is gone (if there ever was any)…

  36. Hold it guys! Before we start speculating again, please note that the June 17, 2007 Kobe comments circulating the last two days are actually comments in the Truth forum of KB24.com originally posted on May 30, 2007, the day after Kobe apparently demanded for a trade then recanted it. For still unknown reasons, the date of the posting has been updated from time to time.

    So no hating on FBG pleasssssssssseeeeeee!

    If indeed Jerry Buss and Kobe met in Spain, what had been discussed is yet to be officially aired/published.

    NO. Please NOTE, NO NEW trade me or else comments have actually been posted.

    Let’s not be fooled by stupid re-publications! It will only hurt our beloved B&G more.

  37. You left out some other options..Keep Kobe and see what happens in the next 2 years. These young players you are trading for are just a mishmash of mediocrity. Yeah one of them may turn out to be an above average player, but you arent really going to be much better then you are now with Kobe. If he opts out in two years, the NBA landscape can be quite different and you have two years to get the pieces in place that might make him change his mind.

    Kobe could change his mind. Kobe could grow up a little bit, or he can just spend the next two years pouting and then he can opt out and sign where he wants. If Im a team trading for him, Id want him to make sure he signs a long term deal.

    If you can get more talent, trade him to Phoenix. The Lakers without Kobe are years away from contending. Kobe in Phoenix is not going to prevent the Lakers from winning when you dont have a chance to win anyway. Wouldnt it also be nice to challenge yourself with better talent received in a trade, and addind some more anti Kobe free agents, who might actually beat Phoenix and Kobe in a playoff series. We couldnt beat Phoenix with Kobe so lets challenge ourselves.

    Its all a no win situation and superstars like Kobe can ruin a franchise in the same way they can help. Shaq was no different. Get as much real talent as you can for him and go from there and be thankful you got some championships while he was here. Imagine how bad his behavior would look if the Lakers were like Dallas…always coming up short.

  38. warren (philippines) June 18, 2007 at 8:02 am

    I like that. Its probably the only thing the Lakers have at this point on Kobe. They can always choose to stay put and make crafty moves that convince him to play harder. Lets start by getting JO without Odom. I bet you he will not be bolting LA.

  39. I’ve been a Laker fan since before they traded for Wilt. I even suffered through the Elmore Smith interregnum. I go with Lakers over Kobe any day. That said, from my personal and idosyncratic perspective, Kobe Bryant has given me more pure aesthetic joy in basketball, has shown more personal brilliance, has just done more “WTF” stuff, than any player in basketball since Magic. (Despite Jordan’s greatness, I always liked Magic better.) I would hate like hell to see Kobe go from my beloved Lakers, and frankly I think it would be dumb of him to demand to, given multiple factors already well discussed elsewhere. But if it has to be, which I still don’t regard as absolutely certain, then whatever. I’ll still be a Laker fan, I’ll still be amazed by Kobe, and I’ll generally wish Kobe well until and unless he gets in the Lakers’ way. If the trade has to happen, then something like the possibilites suggested above make a lot of sense. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  40. @30, as for Kobe sulking and not performing, that’s one thing I can’t see him doing. Sulking yes, not performing no. Say what you like about him, that just doesn’t seem to be who he is. Not just because it would lower his value and desirability, but because his pride likely wouldn’t let him. Of course, what do I know? :-)

  41. As a follow-up, how would Phil react to these different options?

  42. The more I think about it. Just keep Kobe. If you arent geting full value in a trade, are you really getting better? If not, id rather be mediocre with Kobe and enjoy the talent for 2 years, then be mediocre with a bunch of young guys that still require an infusion of free agents to be a contender.

    Life changes, the world changes and the NBA landscape can change in the next 2 years. Kobes under contract so enjoy his play, ignore his childish personality, and see if the pieces can be brought in which combined with time, might make him stay.

    Trading him does not make the franchise better and even if he walks in two years, we arent that much worse because we left some mediocre talent on the table that we could have had in trade.

    Management should not panic and realize they arent breaking up a championship team so getting one back is not going to happen.

  43. I say the ONLY way you trade Kobe is if you can secure a future Stud at #9…

    …most draft’s that’s impossible. But there is this Chinese fellow…Jianlian…he’s supposed to be the real deal…

    …I love Kobe, have always been a fan, a supporter, but if Yi Jianlian is going to be a star in the league I would say that proposed Bulls trade would be a damn good route to take. I’d obviously love to keep Kobe and build around him, but if that’s not to be, then lets go with getting ourselves a future star and some real nice young pieces to fit around him. Bynum, Yi, Odom and Gordon isn’t a bad start to a new Championship.

    …of course JO, Odom and Kobe ain’t too bad either…

  44. Isn’t Kobe as a Laker just basically damaged beyond repair?

    How can his teammates ever trust him again when/if he steps into that locker room. I mean talent is talent, but Kobe has squandered so much of his good will credit line now.

    Even if he does get traded to an Eastern Conf. team, does he seriously believe that enough talent will be intact after the team would have to trade a significant chunk of its roster to get him?

    Who is advising Kobe? If I have one piece of advice for Kobe, it’s this: inner-monologue.

  45. As a Laker fan, I’m frustrated with some of the things coming out of Kobe’s camp.

    But I’m not eager to see a team without Kobe.

    I think the Bulls deal that has been mentioned by a few, getting Gordon and Deng and this year’s lottery pick, would be pretty damn good though, especially if we were able to unload Radmanovic, and/or somehow use a combination of our marginal bench players to net Duhon in return as well.

    But why would the Bulls do that deal? Would a core of Hinrich, Bryant, and Wallace, along with Nocioni, Thomas, and Sefalosha, be able to get them to the next round?

    And what of these recent ESPN rumours of Garnett being in the mix with Boston? If there’s any truth there, and if the Lakers are somehow bent beyond repair on trading Bryant, how ironic would it be if moving Bryant (perhaps in a three-way deal) would somehow be the move that nets the player that would have kept Bryant to begin with.

    Gordon, Lamar, and Garnett? Damn!

    And this is coming from someone who REALLY does NOT want to see Kobe moved.

    Make him play this year, or sit out and lose his money. Or wait until the ridiculously good offers come in.

    Try to patch it up, hope Radmanovic, Bynum, and Farmer come back with improved games.

    If the 3 players above came back with 10-15 better play, I’m thinking that would net at least 10 more wins right there. Not very scientific (and with Radmanovic it may be wishful thinking), but it could happen. Does anyone out there think that Bynum and Farmar have maxed out their talents?

    Even if neither Bynum or Farmar become superstars, both of them greatly improving over the summer and returning to a team that still has Kobe would seem to imply a better team.

    Oh, and:

    Let’s not forget about Walton and Turiaf.

    Whatever direction the team decides to go in, it would be nice keeping those two around.

  46. @42. that is roughly what the front office has been doing for 3 years. most laker fans aren’t satisfied with the result.

  47. Its tough reading this, because the trade Kobe option is clearly the best. I’m a young guy, so I’ve only come into my own as a Laker fan in the Van Exel, Kobe, Eddie Jones, Shaq era…and Kobe is my all-time favorite player. That being said, I would guess I’m a bigger Laker fan than a Kobe fan, so maybe it is the best for us. I’ll be rooting for my boy to come out the east though. But one thing…is everyone else completely SOLD on Luol Deng. I think he’s a solid #2 guy, but I don’t know how much of the load he can carry–he did play almost 3rd fiddle to hinrich and gordon (but i like him more than hinrich though…Hinrich can’t really shoot).

  48. I’ll think you’ll find a lot of resistance from bulls fans on these trade scenarios. Keep in mind, the Bulls were the third best team in the East and have a core significantly younger than the Pistons, Heat, Nets, Wizards and even Cavs. They can arguably stand pat, at a young big man and expect the development of Tyrus and Sefolosha make the difference for them. Especially with the Pistons aging front line.
    As a result, blowing all of that up would have to make a VERY convincing arguement that the Bulls would compete to win a championship. Not play in the finals and perform like the Cavs, but expect to win it all. Otherwise, they’d be in arguably the same position as they are already. What’s the use of pairing Kobe with Hinrich when you’re also trotting out Mo Evans and Ben Wallace’s eroding body? Plus, trading Tyrus and PJ Brown diminishes the Bulls already thin frontcourt and Radman’s not going to help that anytime soon. All of this and we have yet to mention Kobe’s 25 MILLION DOLLAR cap figure being paired w/ Radman’s anchor/contract. Or the fact that Kobe can walk in two years. Or that he’s a league-leading malcontent.

  49. 47. I don’t think, at least in my mind, trading Kobe is the “best” option. Better options would be making a trade that would bring in a key piece while keeping Kobe and Lamar in house. There are great challenges in dong that, but I think most people would rather see a winner here with Kobe. I think the real key of Reed’s piece is that if it does come to trading Kobe, do it right and this can be a young and exciting team with a future in a couple years. That is way better than Paul Pierce as Kobe Bryant in the same dead-end.

  50. Ap,

    I think you’re right about Deng as a #2 guy, but in the same sense that James Worthy was a #2 guy or Kevin McHale. Both were outstanding and All-Stars/Hall of Famers, but they weren’t the “man” on their teams. What the Lakers will need, either this year or in the future, is someone who can create a shot for themselves or be the go-to guy in the clutch. For that reason I hope we do get Ben Gordon in a deal with Chicago. He’s shown to be a guy who elevates his game when it counts.

    I don’t think the Lakers will or should go after someone who will be “the man” in any potential trade. When you have the best #1 on the planet, why trade for a poor man’s version? What they need to do is raise the overall talent level, put themselves in a better position financially to make future moves, and most importantly have a definitive plan going forward. With Kobe it has never been rebuilding or contending, just hanging in limbo.

    I think Chicago will more than likely want to hold onto Deng, I think the best we could do is Gordon, Thomas, Sefolosha or Duhon and the #9 (Brown to match salaries).

    That would leave Chicago with Hinrich, Deng, Kobe, Wallace and Nocioni to be a good team in the East.

    I think it’s a win win for both teams.

  51. I say keep Kobe, and invest in some orthodontics work to have his mouth wired shut. He is an outstanding guy when he doesn’t speak.

    Honestly, get Kobe a new PR guy that just shuts him up. How many people can he throw under the bus in his life???

    The world is NOT all about Kobe. Once he figures this out, he might be able to become a better player AND a better person.

  52. Come on Mitch, do what you have to do and pull off a darn JO trade without including Odom. Offer them whatever they want besides Odom and Kobe, and do it quick. At this point it would be the only way we can just make things normal around here. Kobe would not want out if he got JO and kept Lamar.

  53. (51) I would like to add to my own comment by saying that it is not entirely Kobe’s fault.

    The front office has done a terrible job managing this team and I’m convinced they still don’t know what they’re doing.

    Everyone, I repeat EVERYONE, has milked Kobe Bryant for every penny he is worth:

    1. The Lakers (the Buss family) – they continue to sell tickets because of his name. He is still surrounded by poor talent (Odom not included).

    2. The media – each sportswriter/commentator can continue to gain recognition off of Kobe’s name whenever they please. Since there are no ramifications against them reporting hearsay and rumors without reliable “sources”… they can say whatever they want.

    3. The NBA – every story/rumor equals recognition for the league. Stern will continue to allow Kobe to get smeared as long as it gets people’s attention. The league needs a villain.

  54. #27: I saw the Blog A Bull stuff as well. Reed’s post was very good, but I am not at all convinced the Bulls see Bryant as having that kind of value to them. I think they really like their team and think it can make the finals without a big change; and, if they do gut the team for a star, they would rather do it for Garnett.

  55. I agree that the Bulls have a very nice, developing young team. But, I think they would be foolish to not make a big move for Kobe. The playoffs (not to mention the regular season) established that the best eastern teams simply have no chance of competing with the western contenders in a playoff series. And, the Bulls didn’t advance past the second round in the east. They also have no star to carry them in intense series against teams like the Spurs. Even if the Bulls players keep developing as anticipated, that team will never be sufficiently talented to beat the Spurs or Suns in a series. Kobe offers them that chance. If surrounded by the right players, he can carry teams in big playoff series (we forget that it was he that was the key to the lakers beating the spurs during their three-peat; San Antonio handled Shaq fairly well, but had no answer to Kobe).

    I agree that Chicago would not be well served to “gut” the team for Kobe, but they do not have to. If they offer Deng, Thomas, the lottery pick, and other expiring contracts (Brown in a sign and trade), they are left with Hinrich, Gordon, Wallace, Nocioni, Sefolosha, Duhon, etc. to pair with Kobe. Clearly that team is far better situated to get out of the east than the current roster. No team in the east would come close to matching their talent.

  56. What do you think about a trade with the Clippers?

    Sterling would love to get Kobe, I have to think no matter the cost. Brand and Maggette for Kobe and Vlad (throw in Aaron Williams as filler). The Lakers could field Farmar, Maggette, Odom, Brand, Kwame. (yes, I know this looks alot like the 2002 Clippers)

    Would the Lakers do this? I think in a heartbeat. Would the Clippers? Maybe not as quickly, but I think they would. They’ve never been about winning, and this gives them star power. The big question is would Kobe allow it… he’d be on a crappy team, but wouldn’t have to move.

  57. Ok gentlemen, you have to be an ESPN insider to read this but this might be the longshot we have all been waiting for, can somebody please tell Kobe to pick up the phone and instead of calling Dr.Buss to demand a trade, tell him to call his friend up in Minnesota and beg him to come to LA and resurrect both of their careers.

    Ok Mr. Mchale, we will give you anything and everything you want besides #24 to make this happen.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=ford_chad&id=2907610&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnba%2finsider%2fcolumns%2fstory%3fcolumnist%3dford_chad%26id%3d2907610

  58. 55- I think that would be the most “doable” Bulls trade scenario. I think the thing to keep in mind when talking trades is that any trade will HAVE to make Paxson believe that the new team will be significantly better-suited to compete for a championship. That’s the only argument I was putting forward. As it currently stands, the team is positioned to compete in the Eastern Conference playoffs for a number of years. Plus, they’re young. On top of all of that, they will likely have several attractive pieces under palatable contracts if they just resign this summer.
    I agree that the could use an Alpha-Dog to take over games but I wouldn’t advocate spending a boatload to secure one.

  59. LOL@56.
    Never been about winning…except since the Lakers stopped being about winning and traded away their ticket to Championships since he cost too much and they wanted to save money. Its been quite the flip in the post-Shaq era. The Clippers handing out contracts like they were sticks of gum and the Lakers getting cheaper than…well…Donald Sterling.

    Since Shaq left:
    Clippers 124-122
    Lakers 121-125

    One team are winners. One team are losers. It is what it is. The Lakers are just lucky Kobe was too short-sighted to see where his road to a championship was all along back on that fateful day. His bed.

    They wouldn’t do that trade, but they would do the one I have suggested:

    Cassell/Maggette/Williams + 2 1st rounders for Kobe. Lakers get their #3 option and cap space just in time to bring Gilbert Arenas home to a max deal. Arenas, Maggette, Radmanovich, Odom, Bynum. All parties (Clippers, Kobe) would agree to this except likely the Lakers… for obvious (irrational) reasons.

    Personally as a season ticket holder I would hate it. But I’m sure I’d have plenty of former Lakers fans to sell my tickets to for a tidy profit.

  60. Wow, the Clippers are fair winners by such a large margin.

    Cassell and Maggette for Kobe. LOL

  61. 57. I saw that too, but Eastern Conference GMs (and in the cases of the Knicks and Celtics, desperate Eastern Conference GMs) saying they talked to McHale and KG actually being on the market are two different things. Not that Mitch shouldn’t make the call just in case, but don’t be sure it’s really happening.

  62. Any way the Lakers can move up in the draft and acquire Jeff Green? He’s supposedly one of the most nba-ready players in the draft.

  63. how many finals games have the clippers played in since Shaq left…the same amount as the Lakers.

  64. Better yet, how many times have they been to the playoffs?

  65. Mannie Jenkins June 18, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Okay, I hope this doesn’t fall under the type of pipe dream fantasizing you frown upon, but here’s a situation I think work for both teams involved given a couple variables.

    IF Detroit loses Chauncey Billups to free agency and decide they need to rebuild:

    Lakers trade Bynum and Kwame for Rasheed Wallace (the salaries work).

    Detroit gets: A promising young post player and cap relief in a year. With a year of development for Bynum, they are set to have a solid team after only one year of rebuilding.

    Los Angeles gets: A good veteran in the post, a legit #3 guy behind Kobe and Odom, who doesn’t want too much responsibility but plays -and defends- hard. Getting a strong #3 guy is a lot better than just upgrading your #2 guy (like replacing Odom with O’Neil). We’d also finally have a PF who can legitimately play in the triangle.

    We would have to play small at center and still need to address our PG situation, but the league isn’t filled with huge centers who can exploit us there. Also, Rasheed has to promise not to let Odom smoke his drugs.

    Anyways, I realize it’s iffy for the Pistons to make the plunge into rebuilding, but I think this would be a good trade for both teams. Anybody see any obvious problems?

  66. Bingo T. Clown June 18, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Trading Kobe would be the second stupidest thing the Lakers have done recently.

    In the end the lakers “young talent” isn’t very talented so why kid ourselves. Buss should suck it up and get a 3rd solid player by whatever means necessary (pat the luxury tax Playboy!).

    They cannot trade Odom 1 for 1 for Jermaine O’Neal…it’s a negligible trade. Though I am not an odom fan I think there are only 4 players in the league I think I would trade one for one for and JO isn’t one of them (Lebron, Duncan, Nash, Nowitski)

    Look who went to the finals: teams with superstars at the helm (Lebron, Tim Duncan). None of the current lakers and none of the suggested “piece’s” from Shitcago is a superstar…you just never come out ahead doing that…

    So let’s all take a deep breath – I am looking at you Kobe – and let all the Kobe trade talk go…someone please hack his site!

  67. My biggest gripe with Kobe’s 20 day tantrum is the complete 180 his comments are when compared to all of his comments from the ’04-05,’05-06,’06-07 seasons. All the talk about “process”, “journey” etc.. have been replaced with demands of winning “now” and “a chance at rings”.

    I don’t disagree with Kobe’s recently stated desire to win now, but it completley contradicts his previous mantra and further displays his willingness to lie and manipulate the actual truth to get what he wants. Right now he wants to be on a team he doesn’t have to construct, a team that is ready to win and a team that needs his abilities to do that…sounds like the Lakers pre-Shaq trade, ha, somewhat painfully ironic, but I guess Kurt was right when he compared Kobe to a Greek Tragedy, this whole situation smells like a real rose.

  68. Kobe just needs to handle his problems behind closed doors. I understand his frustrations, but no more venting and no more bashing.

    Fixing our problems:

    - Move Jim Buss to D-League team management
    - Bring in Magic as the new GM, and respectfully ask Mitch to step down into his former consulting role
    - Ask Magic to sit down with Kobe and let him know that this team is behind him
    - Magic and Phil control personnel from this point forward

  69. DR- I agree with you about Kobe needing to shut his yap. I also agree with Mitch and Jim being exiled into oblivion, but I can’t get down with PJ and Magic making personel moves. PJ has brought fun picks like Kareem Rush and brings in players only based on their triangle-ability (a problem that has us in the place we are now). Magic had the idea of making Doug Christie the centerpiece of the mid-90′s Lakers, again, love Magic, just, he’s not a personel guy. They need a talent evaluator to complement Phil’s coaching ability.

  70. DR – I agree with you 100%. But unfortunately this is not a very realistic scenario. I wish we could just fire mitch and Jim Buss and give their jobs to Jerry West and Magic. We would be back to a contending level in like a year, maybe 2. But Dr. Buss seems to be fine with letting his son run his business into the ground.

    Let me share a story with you guys. When I was in high school, my parents owned a local fast-food restaurant. We were arguably the best one in town because we had a very large clientele of customers who loved us and our service. After I graduated, my parents sold the store and retired. The new owner had never owned a business before. He started making changes like buying different products which cost him less and he ended up running the business into bankruptcy because he was new to the profession and did not know what he was doing as much as he thought he did.

    Jim Buss is on the track to leading his father’s business into the ground because he does not know what he is doing.

  71. joseph mendez June 18, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    i think the lakers should trade kobe to the bulls so we could contend in two years

  72. joseph mendez June 18, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    I just heard a report that a deal involing Kobe and the Bulls is in the works , more on that in a few.

  73. joseph mendez June 18, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    It’s Kobe and Rad for Gordon,Thomas, PJ, and #9.

  74. die hard bulls fan June 18, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    kobe to the bulls equals champships. lakers get the lottery for the next ten years ha ha.

  75. die hard bulls fan June 18, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    hey kevin see the trade thats going down

  76. Here’s the interview my fanhouse partner Brett conducted with those kobevideo guys…

    http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/06/18/an-interview-with-the-kobe-video-guys/

  77. As much as I hate to see a team leader demand a trade and make his teamates feel like they are not worth his stay, I can’t argue with Kobe simply b/c of his will to win. Buss’s plan has sucked and I think Kobe deserves a more promising future b/c of how hard he works all year. He is easily the hardest working and most competitive athlete since Jordan b/c of their killer instinct both during the season and the off season. Ive loved the lakers since I can remember but will never fault Kobe simply based on the fact of his desire to win.

  78. Right now the only leverage the Lakers have with Kobe is to make him “shut up or sit out.” Granted, he’s one of the top three best players in the game right now, but his repeated requests to be traded decreases his value to other teams. So the most likely scenario looks to be a combination of Paths B and C. Since we’re talking the Bulls here, it will take two of their “core” players to land Bryant, but neither of them are named Kirk Hinrich or Luol Deng. If GM Paxson refused to trade Deng for Paul Gasol back at the trade deadline, he won’t include him in any trade talks with the Lakers. Also, trading Hinrich leaves the Bulls without a PG, which was a major weakness in last year’s Lakers, which I’m betting played a part in Kobe’s frustrations.

    Talking trade, the most likely scenario seems to be this: Bulls give up Ben Gordon (the good young player from Path C), Andres Nocioni (sign-and-trade), Chris Duhon, the rights to the person selected at #9, and maybe Tyrus Thomas (Bulls less likely to trade him); Lakers give up Kobe and either a low-level player or draft pick. [Obviously some pieces may need to be added or subtracted as needed.] Only way Lakers trade both Kobe and Vladimir Radmonovic is if the Bulls throw-in Ben Wallace, which won’t happen because his departure would deplete their front line. I’m kind of surprised practically no one has mentioned Nocioni. He’s a good defender and energy player, and a bigger, younger version of Bruce Bowen who could give anyone fits, ranging from Dirk Nowitzki to Steve Nash to Tracy McGrady to Kevin Durant. Granted his offense is subpar, and on the Bulls he’s come off the bench more than started, but I could still see Paxson giving him up in the trade.

  79. About this whole Kobe Video situation… who cares? So apparently he said “ship his ass out, we’re talking about Jason Kidd” when talking about Andrew Bynum.

    Um, if i’m not mistaken, weren’t we ALL saying that around the time when the trade didn’t go down? Obviously Kobe should be quiet about this because he deals with Andrew on a day to day basis and must have a relationship with him, but we cannot fault him for thinking it.

    The guy knew that we were on the verge of falling apart because of all the injuries around the trade deadline, and the media really made it seem like a Kidd/Lakers trade was gonna go down. Then came word that the Lakers had refused because of Bynum. Kobe wants to win badly and was obviously pissed about getting his hopes up. With J.Kidd, we would have had a MUCH better second half of the season.

    So Laker fans should not get mad about these (alleged) comments that Kobe made outside of a deli… I mean come’on, we’re talking about Jason Kidd!

  80. warren (philippines) June 18, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Learning from the Shaq experience, you do not ship your superstar to the other conference just to evade him for 2x a year. If it meant getting more talent from the same conference, even if it meant seeing him twice as much.

    The point is, I like Phoenix to be Kobe’s destination (IF EVER). Not only will I enjoy cheering for my 2nd team (SUNS), but I will also see a future with the new Laker squad.

    Marion, Barbosa, Kurt Thomas, #24 and #29 for Kobe and Vlad.

    Farmar / #19 / #29
    Barbosa / #24 / Vujacic
    Odom / Walton / Evans / #48
    Marion / Kwame / Cook / #40
    Bynum / Thomas / Turiaf / Mihm

    This team is still not done dealing.
    Cook + 48 for Arroyo’s expiring.
    Perhaps a pitch for Andre Miller using draft picks and expirings? Vujacic, Kwame, #19 for Andre Miller?

    We will have 3 picks on the 1st and 2 on the 2nd.
    Only Barbosa and Walton exceed 2 years in contract.
    Marion and Odom’s contracts will expire in 2009.
    Kwame, Kurt Thom, Sasha, Evans, Turiaf are expiring.

    But most of all, our heads will be above water in fielding a showtime team of Marion and Odom. Better than that with a Ben Gordon-led team.

  81. Kwame, Bynum, Vlade #19 to Chicago for Ben Wallace and Duhon. Doesn’t that work for both teams? At first it looks bad for Chicago, but then you realize that they now have the exact pieces to go after Gasol, or Garnett made available by trading Wallace and getting smaller movable contracts. All they have to do is waite 2 months and easly pick up Gasol, maybe ever Garnett.

    or

    Atlanta trades #11, Claxton, Wright, and Marvin Williams for Randolph and Jack.
    Kobe could be persuaided to go to the ATL with that trade and i think its a big enough city and market I think top 10 to please kobe in that way. So they package Joe Johnson, Childress, and #3 for Kobe.

    What do you think of those 2? works for all parties?

  82. If GM Paxson wants a 2008 championship then he will go for this trade: gordon, brown, duhon, and the #9 pick for kobe and #19. Paxson should be thinking hinrich, kobe, deng, tyrus, and wallace in his starting 5 along w/ nocioni, sweetney, and allen comin off the bench. The bulls can grab javaris crittenton w/ the #19 draft pick to give them some help at the point or tade that and a role player to grab acie law. Law would fit in perfectly with the bulls style considering hes a tough defender and leaves it all out on the court. He already has a great PG to play w/ in hinrich and both know how hard and competitive the big 12 is. If this all works then the Bulls will be playing in the NBA finals!

  83. 81 – Unlikely that both are on the board at 19. I see either the Clippers or the Hawks picking him up.

  84. Some keep suggesting we get Ben Wallace — that would be a bad idea. He is aging fast, a player that worked well in a specific system but was less of an impact in Chicago, and his contract is horrid. He is the exact opposite of what Reed was talking about: If you’re forced to deal Kobe, set the team up for the future with young players and cap room. Wallace does neither, he bogs this franchise down for years with no cap room and an aging key player who can’t score. He cannot be part of any deal, which is why no deal with the Bulls would happen until after the draft and July 1.

  85. and for the lakers, if the hawks continue to be dumb in the draft and pass on conley jr. then they should do what they can to get him. hes the best guard in the draft and was over shadowed by his teammate AGAIN. He will be the best rookie guard and will fit in nicely w/ LA whether kobe gets traded or not. Its either gonna be conley jr., kobe, walton, odom, and brown/bynum; or conley jr., gordon, walton, odom, and bynum/brown +duhon, pj brown, farmar and plenty of $ to use the following season.

  86. Warren –
    Do you realize that with your proposed trade with the Suns, the Suns would end up with a starting lineup of Nash, Kobe, Bell, Diaw, and Stoudemire. And better yet, this monster of a team would be in our division. They would OWN the pacific division for the next 5-8 years. Mitch Kupchak would get assassinated for even considering this deal.

  87. Please oh please take the Trade Kobe option. Listen, I don’t want to see the guy go, but this team is going nowhere fast and trading something like Odom and Bynum for Jermaine O’Neal is a HUGE mistake.

    Trade Kobe & Radmonovich for Deng, Thomas, # 9 and whatever else it takes to get the deal done. We get a good player, dump a bad contract, get a high draft pick and can save room for LeBron in ’09 (or someone else). And please, with all that cap room, don’t blow it on a 100 year old Kidd or a 33 year old Garnett in 2008…..just save it one more year.

  88. Speaking of Atlanta,too bad Kobe has a no-trade clause.
    In many ways the best trade for a Triangle Lakers would be Kobe and Evans for Joe Johnson,Childress and the #3.
    Atlanta gets a box-office attraction for 2 yrs(and JJ is only signed for 3 yrs) and has shot at Playoffs-and in East who knows?
    Lakers get player who can score,pass,create and defend and another good passer,finisher. Draft Horford and this is an athletic unselfish team that has alot of potential.

    This is my last entry into the Bryant sweepstakes as I believe the Lakers will eventually kiss and make up w/Kobe.

  89. Excellent points have been made by Reed here. I agree with other posters saying that Odom will be improved by Kobe’s absence.

    I think, in terms of talent, the Lakers got plenty out of Miami. Odom and Butler are deserving All-Stars. If the Lakers had kept Caron and, instead of signing Vlad, had gone after a solid PF/C last off-season we would not be in the situation we are in today.

    As for Kobe’s claim that Baron and others were available. I didn’t see Kobe negotiate a lower salary a couple of off-seasons ago so the Lakers could hunt down other talent for the money he didn’t want. So, his whining that the Lakers didn’t go way over the cap to hire guys who would come at a discount (discount here being relative) is simple revisionism. Everyone in LA who read the news knew the Lakers were on a 3-5 year plan. If Kobe didn’t know it, I don’t think a college education would have served him in expaning his fndamental understanding of the real world.

    I have been a Kobe fan and never let his off distractions bother me until now. Of course the Lakers pandered to him during the “rape” trial. They did have a choice and they chose to assist him. His appreciation for the fans is pure pandering. If he loved the Lakers like we all do then he would do what the rest of us would. He would take a MLE and play his whole career on that while reeping the benefits of it by getting his fill of winning championships.

  90. warren (philippines) June 18, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    WHAT IF?

    What if the Lakers got Kobe his “support” in JO without parting with Odom. Would he not leave?

    Suppose he got Garnett and still could not get past the 1st round? WHat happens?

    The deal should be this – that if Kobe gets a support (one that will be costly to acquire), he should in his own part, waive his option year and no trade clause. So that, they can be a team for once after all this. Kobe will be a normal guy contending for championships but will have to go through all the “prove your worth” stuff in order to succeed and stay with the team THROUGHOUT the rest of his contract. Not that if they still don’t win, he will simply bolt LA and leave them cold. It will be but fair.

  91. The last book that Phil should give Kobe if he does indeed leave should be ‘The Good Earth”… or ‘The Selfish Giant’ if he wants to be humorous. :p

  92. Option 5: Sell the team. That’s right, unlike many of the other owners Buss’ primary asset/income is the team itself. Thus, he may not have the pockets to go all in, even if he wanted to. Estate taxes will probably prevent him from passing along the franchise (thank goodness–Jim and Jeanie, shudder the thought). The aura of a big money buyer may be enough to entice Kobe or at least buy enough time so that either the core can develop or create a more favorable trade environment. And let’s face it Dr. Buss hasn’t been particular sharp for quite awhile now, young starlets not withstanding…..

  93. If you have to trade Kobe to chicago you trade kobe and radman for duhon, gordon, ty thomas the 9th pick and sign and traded pj brown or nocioni. The lakers then would have a roster of
    chris duhon/farmar/vujacic
    gordon/mo evans/ luke walton
    odom/ ty thomas/ turiaf/ cook
    kwame brown/ andrew bynum/ mihm/ pj brown along with the 9th and 19th pick plus 2 second round picks
    they then could do a number of things
    A) they could keep this roster
    b) they could trade odom to boston for the 5th pick and Gerald Green
    then trade the 5th and 9th pick along with Kwame for the no2.pick to seattle

    they then would have a roster of
    duhon/farmar.vujacic
    gordon/ mo evans
    kevin durant/ ty thomas
    andrew bynum/ truiaf
    walton/cook/ pj brown plus with the 19th pick you get nick young and the

    that would be a very good young team that would be way under the cap that could sign LEbron or dwayne wade or carmelo when they become free agents in three years

  94. Phil Jackson has emailed his expectation to see Kobe in October. According to Sam Smith at the Chicago Tribune (7/18/07), Jeanne seems to be backing him up behind the scenes:

    Jeannie Buss, the team’s executive vice president of business operations, posted this on the team’s Web site last week: “While it is clear that I have no input into basketball decisions, I have expressed my opinion to everyone I work with in this organization that Kobe Bryant cannot now or ever be traded from the Lakers. Even thinking about it distresses me. My message is simple—he is not going anywhere. How can you trade Kobe when there is no equal to Kobe?”

    Actually, Jeannie does sound like a general manager, because this is the word being passed to teams: If you are not trading us someone comparable, like James or Dwyane Wade (that would be funny), there is no one close to Bryant in talent. So we want your two best players—especially if one is a point guard—a young big man to go with Andrew Bynum and a draft pick.

    Translated for the Bulls, that would be Hinrich, Luol Deng, Thomas and the No. 9 draft pick. So this is what you’d have: Ben Wallace at 33 and heading downhill, Ben Gordon at point guard, Andres Nocioni at small forward and Malik Allen, Michael Sweetney or P.J. Brown at power forward. And you’d be over the salary cap. And you’d have Bryant with an option to leave in two years.

    I don’t see any way the Lakers trade him. In three-way deals being proposed involving the Bulls, the Lakers would get Paul Pierce, who hasn’t even made the playoffs for two years, or Gilbert Arenas, who is as unpredictable as they come. Such trades seem only to benefit the Bulls, which the Bulls appreciate.

    There’s this notion that the Lakers have no leverage with Bryant, which is ludicrous. They have the league’s best coach in Phil Jackson, who embraces Bryant. Bryant cannot leave as a free agent for two years, and leaving would likely endanger all his endorsement deals, which he has worked so hard to retain since the Colorado criminal charges.

    Plus, the Lakers don’t rebuild. They never have. It’s the ultimate star franchise, given their ticket prices, the highest in the NBA, and Hollywood crowd. They sell stardom more than any franchise. They traded for Wilt and Kareem and Kobe and stole Shaq. They’re not going to trade Bryant for Hinrich and Deng. No offense, of course.

  95. yo im a true kobe fan but after shaq left i new it waz ova 4 kobe he should’ve tried 2 get outta there while he still could but i have the upmost respect 4 the lakers organization

  96. Erez,

    What gets me with this Kobe saying so and so player was available and we didn’t get them, is that all the guys that he mentioned at the time were very risky pick-ups. Of course he drops the names of Boozer and Baron Davis after these playoffs when they were outstanding, but when reported deals were out there for them they were extremely expensive and very injury prone (or actually injured). And for Kobe to drop the Boozer name and then say he was pissed about trading Caron Butler is ridiculous because the deal was built around Caron. As for Artest, the Pacers were asking for Odom at the time and that would have been idiotic for the Lakers. Artest is a ticking time bomb, no matter how talented.

    I think the Lakers have tried to put a winning team on the floor, but they run a business and you have to be smart, not only trying to succeed today but have lasting success into the future.

    I understand Kobe not seeing it from an employee point of view, but for Dr. Buss and company it’s not always about winning, its about making money. Finding out how to do both is tricky but the Lakers organization has been pretty good at it so far.

    And if Kobe was truly all about winning he would have taken less money to play for Chicago or the Clippers (like he said). They would have been closer to competing for a ring. Instead he took more from the Lakers. Don’t get me wrong, I would have done the same thing, but you can’t have it both ways. He’s a smart guy and would have had to known that his salary would limit them greatly, especially seeing the Shaq trade that was going down.

    This is why I think it’s just best both sides go their separate ways and move on from this. Everyone will be better off.

  97. Reed #55:

    Fair points. But, as #48 mentioned, trading Deng/Thomas/Brown and the 9 would leave the Bulls very thin up front. With Hinrich, Gordon and Bryant, most of the strength of the team would be on the perimeter, and I think they would need to bring in a big, D-oriented 4 (like Kwame Brown) to balance the skill sets on the roster.

    So, as good as Kobe is, it seems to me that if the deal follows those lines, the Bulls are better off adding something else to make it clear salary restrictions and going after Garnett. Garnett, with the size and length of 4/5, but the athleticism of a 3, and with a low-post offensive game, replaces Brown and Deng and adds something (low-post offense) all by himself. Pairing him with two tough, undersized lunch pail guys who don’t need the ball (Nocioni and Wallace) and two guards who can score seems a perfect blend. The best team he was on in Minnesota was the one on which Cassell and Sprewell provided scoring from the perimeter.

    And, frankly, I think McHale should do it. I see no chance Garnett does not opt out and Foye, Deng, Thomas and two lottery picks, albeit low ones, would be a good foundation for restarting the Wolves. Garnett enters his 30s on a contender in a big market, in the East, in his hometown.The league gets a marquee attraction in a big eastern market. I am a lifelong Laker fan, but I think Garnett to Chicago makes more sense than any Kobe- to-Chicago scenario.

    I agree with Kurt that KG in LA is likely a pipe dream for now, but I do think if Kobe is still here and the Lakers have any cap room somehow, coming to LA would be Garnett’s preferred option. And, I agree with the poster who said to “make the call” as Kurt said and tell McHale he can have whatever he wants except Kobe. Kobe and KG together would be something to see.

    Back in the real world, I am still not sure what is going to happen. Three people asked me yesterday if I thought Kobe was going to be moved–I didn’t have an answer for them.

  98. If we do trade kobe… we have to get studs in return… I like Deng (force @ 3) much more than Gordon (a small gunner). Thomas and Nocioni would also be exatly the type of players we need… tough rebounders and defenders… kinda like cookie should have been to deserve an extension.

    and why, exactly, wouldn’t tha Bulls trade both Deng and Heinrich??? this is KOBE… I know they won’t start the bidding there, but prolonging the bid (and holding a gun to Kobes head while he reverses direction on tape again) would FORCE paxton to up a bid, wouldn’t it?

  99. So many interesting thoughts here.

    Robin–I agree that Kobe trade would leave the Bulls a little thin up front, but I just assume they would gladly make that sacrifice and then use other means to add a power forward or two (resign Nocioni, use the midlevel, the draft, etc.). The upgrade from Deng to Kobe is that significant. Garnett may be a better fit, however, so I imagine the Bulls will pursue that.

    A few have mentioned including Nocioni. I recognize that he is a good, blue-collar player, but he would demand a multi-year contract. If the Lakers wanted to use the trade to get under the cap, as I think they should, bringing on Nocioni would severely undercut this.

    Kurt is dead on about Ben Wallace.

    Perhaps it was a little optimistic of me to assume the Bulls would take Radmanovic with Kobe. If so, the Lakers should still do a path C trade and then beg a team to take Radmanovic for an expiring contract/2nd round pick (perhaps by including a first round pick or other valuable young player). That signing was an unmitigated disaster.

    Many note the possibility of Wade and Lebron coming on the market in 3 years. I agree that the Lakers would be wise to keep this in the back of their mind when constructing the team. While you cannot “plan” around signing one of these stars so far down the road, you can try to avoid contracts that stretch into 2010 as much as possible. If the Lakers had a nice collection of talent and Cleveland/Miami were on the downswing, I think Lebron or Wade would be very interested in jumping ship.

    I thought the #66 post regarding pursuing Rasheed Wallace if Billups doesn’t resign was interesting. He would fit in the triangle well, add defense, and be available for fairly cheap. Worth Bynum? Maybe not. But, something to think about. The Lakers only shot at building quickly around Kobe is to take on high risk stars that can be had at a discount.

    If Garnett goes on the market, I strongly suspect the Celtics win any bidding war (even trumping the Bulls). Al Jefferson, #5, and Ratliff’s expiring contract (the biggest expiring deal in the league) trumps anything the Bulls can offer. Jefferson has as much, if not more, upside as Deng. The #5 pick ensures an impact player, and Ratliff’s contract provides big cap relief. McHale and Ainge are also ex-teammates and I am guessing McHale would be less resistant to shipping Garnett to his old team than anywhere else.

  100. lakers HAVE to trade Kobe, b/c they cant build a contender around him in the next 2 yrs, and he is guaranteed to opt out in 2 yrs. if they dont trade him, they risk getting NOTHING in return for him — not trading him could be the biggest mistake in sports history

  101. Reed,

    Good point about the Celtics. I said in an earlier thread that it was very, very hard for me to picture McHale sending KG to LA, no matter what was offered, because McHale might feel he was selling out both his home state and his old team by putting Garnett in purple and gold. Sending him to Boston, though, would be more palatable. One issue is whether Garnett would want to go there. He might–being part of the Celtic tradition might appeal to him and he might feel that in the East, teamed with Pierce, he could get to the Finals, but I have to think Garnett wants to go to a good team in the east–the Bulls fit the bill.

    And, yes, If Paxson/Skiles feel they can pick up a useful big 4 via the MLE or trade, then adding Kobe makes sense. But I agree Garnett is a better fit.

    I am feeling now that Kobe is going to get traded, but that is just a gut feeling–nothing really to back it up, other than the renewed demand.

  102. Any pure basketball fan would realize that trading Kobe and getting players such as Gordon, Deng, Ty Thomas and draft picks would be a very good decision from a team standpoint to build into the future with young stars and cap space. The problem for Dr.Buss, is that we live in Hollywood.

    For as many pure basketball fans like us that there are, there are just as many, if not more, star studded frontrunners who only come to games to be seen on camera and to watch Kobe Bryant demoralize other players so that even if we have the worst record in the league, they can always hang their hat on Kobe being the best player in the NBA and still have bragging rights.

    Dr. Buss is a business man and his hands are tied. He makes a ton of money with his star studded season seat holders and as we all can see, ticket prices rise every offseason. If the Lakers trade Kobe and do not get another “seat filler” in return, Dr. Buss will be losing money because of lack of interest in his team.

    Even if the Lakers trade Kobe and win 54 games next year and lose in the 2nd round, Buss loses money. Less people would care. People may say that, “well he did trade Shaq” but that’s because he still had Kobe. Part of the reason he was willing to let Shaq and Phil go and rebuild around Kobe was that he knew that no matter what, Kobe would sell seats. Can’t say that about Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum.

  103. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/ian_thomsen/06/18/garnett.notes/index.html

    Can someone please forward this link to Mitch Kupchak and tell him to get off his ass

  104. Re: Kobe trade to Chicago

    I agree, for the most part, with Reed’s very sensible analysis. A couple of thoughts for the discussion:

    1) If the Bulls took Vlad, they’d give up less in talent or cap space, so I’d keep Vlad out of the discussion. His $6 million in cap space isn’t worth giving up either Deng or Heinrich.

    2) getting the sign-and-trade of PJ Brown and the #9 pick seems unlikely to me, given the risk in waiting until July 15 to complete a deal contingent on draft options (not to mention other moves). For that reason, I’d prefer Heinrich over Deng, since it means that the salary space is taken up by a good player.

    3) the lakers should only make this kind of move if they can do something similar, if less spectacular, with Odom. Having $10 million in cap space and 1-2 good players isn’t worth Kobe–having $20+ and 1-2 good players is, since you can add 1-2 more, and with Bynum, you suddenly have a solid starting core.

    Given all that, to my mind the best possible scenario would be Heinrich, Gordon and the #9 for Kobe and, perhaps, Farmar.

    If Odom could net the Lakers cap space and a pick in the 8-14 range (or a young player equivalent to that) , the Lakers would end up with a sqaud of Heinrich, Gordon, Bynum and, say, Jeff Green and Joakim Noah (or whomever else drops) plus huge cap space next year to get a star and a solid starter.

    The Bulls would probably take the Kobe deal (unless they can get Garnett), but I don’t know if Odom could net cap space and a pick. If he could, I’d make this Plan A. If he can’t, Plan A is getting a 3rd all-star calibar player.
    .

  105. if kobe is traded to chicago, i’d prefer heinrich over deng or gordon. heinrich is the tough and skilled point guard that the lakers have lacked for years under pj. he would be a key piece in the rebuild.

  106. as for garnett, mchale would probably send him to boston, mchale’s alma mater and the squad that his teammate ainge manages. as long as mchale is running the show in minne, boston has a huge advantage over any team of getting garnett. sorry.

  107. I still love my Atlanta trade…

    Lakers give:
    Luke Walton (sign and trade)
    Jordan Farmar
    Andrew Bynum

    to Atlanta for:
    Josh Smith
    Speedy Claxton
    #3 pick

    I would even throw in our #19 to make this work. But I don’t think we would need to.

    Our lineup:

    PG: Conley/Claxton
    SG: Kobe/Evans
    SF: Smith/Radman
    PF: Odom/Turiaf
    C: Kwame/MLE (Magloire?)

    Athleticism, speed, and desire all in one package.

  108. (108) I would sub Radman for Walton if we could there and it would even be a better deal.

  109. If I’m Dr. Buss, here’s what I’d do:

    “Kobe, sit down and shut up. Your salary is guaranteed, mine isn’t, so I promise you no one wants to win more than I do. And the Lakers buy superstars in their prime, not sell them, so get comfy, you ain’t going anywhere.

    “Mitch? He’s right, pack your things. We’re bringing in someone who sticks with a plan of attack to either win now or win tomorrow, not someone who changes his mind with every trade or FA signing. Good luck to you, now get out.”

  110. Bryan – I wish you had a job in the Laker front office.

  111. I love watching Kobe play, but I’m a Lakers fan ,and the best thing for the Lakers is to take this opportunity to do a complete overhaul on the roster, get under the cap and make a push in 23-4 years for a big free agent or two.

    Please trade Kobe Bryant. He doesn’t want to be here and I don’t think the Lakers should keep him. Are you going to get equal value for him? No. But if you do it right, you might be able to set yourself up nicely for the future. I agree with the article . . Chicago is the way to go.

    My choice, if possible:

    Kobe and Vlad Radmanovich for Gordon, PJ Brown (Sign and Trade 1yr deal), #9 Pick, Ty Thomas

    1. Lakers unload Vlad’s contract and dump unhappy Kobe.
    2. Lakers get Ty Thomas, who would be great opposite Bynum
    3. Lakers can either keep or buyout PJ Brown and his contract (along with Kwame’s contract) would be up at end of year.
    4. Lakers get Gordon for scoring for next year and can resign if they want, or use that money in ’08 or ’09 for something better.
    5. Lakers get #9 pick (Bulls would have to pick, since this trade couldn’t happen until after the draft)

    Bulls get best player on the planet, still have deng, hinrich, and wallace and could make a serious push.

    If the Lakers could get Deng instead of Gordon, please do, but i’m not sure they can. Even if they don’t, they’d have tons of cap room in 2008 and 2009 (assuming they resign Walton at 6 mil per) to resign Farmar, Bynum, Turiaf, Ty Thomas, and decide to keep Gordon or move on. Turiaf, unless extended reasonably before then, is replacable (i prefer to keep him), Farmar may or may not pan out, and Gordon is not a surefire resign either.

    Lakers 2007-08

    PG Farmar
    SG Gordon
    SF Walton
    PF Odom
    C K. Brown

    Bench:
    Bynum
    Thomas
    Evans
    Cook
    Turiaf
    PJ Brown
    Vujacic
    #9 Pick (Yi?, Nick Young)

    If it was me, I’d save the cap room, or manage it properly to put a good team on the floor the next 3 years, but save whatever is necessary when LeBron comes free (he’ll only be 26). Then you’d have a starting five of Bynum, Thomas, Odom (re-signed for same salary or so), LeBron, and whatever point guard we’ve picked up from trading Gordon in 3 years (after re-signing him) or keeping Gordon at point. Plus, we’d have the #9 pick this year, that could be a starter or backup (Yi or Young?)

    I’d take that. Took the Lakers 9 years to get back to the finals after Magic left…this road would be much quicker (plus all the current west powers would be in decline in 3-4 years). What does everyone think?

  112. I should note, it would be a big mistake to trade for Ben Wallace or to trade Kwame’s or PJ Brown’s expiring contracts for a big money contract that runs longer than 3 years. You’ll need that $$ in three years if you want some of those high-end free agents the summer LeBron and others come out of their extensions….and don’t think those big names won’t want to come to LA with a good young team in place and no Kobe taking too many shots.

  113. Mike – the problem with your proposal is that we would not be getting either of the Bulls 2 best players in Hinrich and Deng in the deal. The Bulls would basically be swapping Gordon and Ty Thomas for “the best player on the planet” as you say and we will be replacing Kobe with Ben Gordon and Ty Thomas. Nobody in LA is going to want to watch Ben Gordon and Lamar Odom leading our team. That team would be clearly worse than the Lakers this past season.

  114. Kurt, I read your page everyday! you do an unbelievable job!! Keep up the good work!!

    Has anyone noticed that the AP stated that Kobe placed his trade demand on his website dated June 17th. Well I checked out Kobe’s page and there is no such entry on his page. Was it ever there? did it get deleted? Is the press still trying to portray Kobe as a bad guy? It’s all a little fishy to me.

  115. After reading through these different scenarios, I feel the best option we have is to play it close to the vest now. In my opinion, the problem with last years team was a couple of weak links- Smush and Kwame. People don’t seem to realize that this team does have the right blend of talent and youth. However, having two very bad players (no heart, bad attitude, and low basketball IQ) in your starting lineup is enough to ruin any team, no matter how much talent and chemistry is there. The Smush problem is done. Get a servicable PG at the MLE with a high basketball IQ. Trade Kwame. We don’t need huge talent for him. Any solid big man with the proper work ethic is leaps and bounds improvement over him. I guess my point is that addition by subtraction in the Lakers case is very valid. Just my two cents.

  116. did anybody see my plan its the best comment number 94 check it out and let me get your feeedback

  117. Trading Walton, Farmar, and Bynum for anyone on the Hawks is nuts.

    Bynum is 19. he’s a huge asset and if we passed on Jason Kidd to get Josh Smith, I will become an NHL fan and watch the Mighty Ducks (post-emilio estevez).

    I still believe in my heart of hearts that a trio of Kobe, Odom, and Walton is a force to be reckoned with. Farmar and Bynum developing mixed with a couple of smart roster decisions (a big ? mark with this mgmt) can keep the Lakers as strong contenders in the West. It’s the contracts of Cook, Radman, and Vujacic that is the looming issue from turning this puppy around. That, and a healthy roster.

    One option that puzzles me is why can’t Buss drop a few extra $$$ and go over the cap these next 4 years? I know Buss is trying to run a business, but with a guy like Kobe, you have a potential for a dynasty again if you bring in one more stud.

    KG in ’08 for some big bucks. We’ll be over luxury tax, but it would be better than all of these catastrophic scenarios. None of these trades seem like a saving grace for Kobe or for the Lakers.

    I watched the San Fran Giants blow countless opportunities to put a great cast of players around Bonds in the 90′s. All in the name of saving $$$. It would be sad to watch Kobe’s prime years with him in another uniform.

    I will say if Kobe takes this further and sits out this year, I will never forgive him as a fan of the Lakers and an unabashed fan of his. Good riddance in that regards. But to think I have watched him take his last shot as a Laker is just a fact i cannot accept. Spend some $$$ next summer, keep everyone happy. If not, get an owner in there who will do what it takes. LA is too huge a market to be conservative. You only get the best player in the world if you’re lucky. Do the right thing and field the best team money can buy.

  118. Lakerfanatic,

    know way does Seattle make that trade, is the only problem. They won’t take 5 & 9 for #2, i doubt kwame would make it any better, even if it is possible under CBA.

    Skigi,

    you’re right, the team would be worse off. It would be great if the bulls would give up deng instead of gordon, that would be the preference, but the way Kobe is forcing this, the Bulls will get the impression they don’t have to, and someone is going to have to blink. The Lakers may have to hurry, because if Garnett is really available and the bulls jump in on that, the Lakers best trade partner is gone, then they have to take the knicks garbage or just wait one more year when some team may or may not have a better offer.

    Deng would be the best case, gordon the worst. There’s no way the bulls do Hinrich and gordon/deng, but they may throw in duhon. Either way, the Lakers have to realize, and all the fans too, that if Kobe is traded, the team may be worse (although, watching the lakers play those first two games as a team last year, without kobe, gives me hope, because this new unit would be better than that one). They should be thinking what is the best plan for getting good player, but more importantly, cap room to bring in better player (plus a draft pick or two and potential draft picks if they’re in the lottery next year).

  119. 117 – Laker fanatic, nobody responded because nobody believes that Seattle is stupid enough to trade Kevin Durant for the 5th, 9th pick of the draft as well as with Kwame Brown. That is just never going to happen. The disaster potential is limitless on that proposal for the Sonics. See Sam Bowie for a reference. no one is passing up Oden or Durant. Those 2, along with D-Wade and LeBron are the most untouchable basketball players alive currently.

    I’m sure we would all dream for the likes of Kevin Durant. Sorry, he’s untouchable.

  120. Anyone else think Kobe is pushing so hard to force the issue so that he forces the Lakers into a deal where their trading partner doesn’t have to give up as much as they normally would, thus leaving Kobe a better team to play on.

    just a thought

  121. I hadn’t thought of that Mike, but now you brought it up, after all the stuff back in 04 tanking, pouting, 06 tanking in 7th game of Phoenix 2006 and kb’s association with Pelinka, who knows what’s going on with this “Borderline” behavior? It can’t be ignored as possible.

  122. Anyone checked out the Blog A Bull thread on this? Kurt posted some of Reed’s stuff over there. As you would suspect, they see it very differently. Hard to know of course to what extent the fans thinking mirrors that of the FO, but I tend to think Paxson would drive a harder bargain and does not see Kobe as the final piece.

  123. The problem with this whole idea is that PJ Brown would have to agree to a sign and trade and I don’t think he will. As far as I know he is either going to retire or sign for a minimum with a contender.That is why I don’t think the lakers will trade Kobe. The only way for the lakers to get anything in return is to create as much cap space as possible (which would require brown) because as everyone knows the lakers do not rebuild from the ground up they buy their championships. (Shaq, Kobe, Kareem all traded for). So regardless of what happens (unless PJ brown will agree to a sign and trade) Kobe will be a laker next season.

  124. The Lakers can buy him out of his one year contract, then he can sign with whomever he pleases, plus still get paid a boatload from the Lakers. The Lakers, if they are following the salary dump plan, won’t want Niocioni (or whatever his name is) unless the contract is 3 years or shorter, which Mr. N won’t want.

  125. warren (philippines) June 19, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Kurt, how about you make this page like those with threads? members can be personalized and the talk does not stray from one to the other. Just a suggestion though.

    As much as I like the prospect of the Bulls offer, it simply is not enough to compel Buss to do it. I think he’d rather have an unhappy Kobe that sells seats up to 2 years from now than have a “good, young team” that is really disinteresting.

    Should the Lakers decide to trade Kobe, do it in fashion. Blow up the whole thing and move on. Vlade and Cook should go with him wherever he goes. If other teams can “demand” that baggage be taken out, why can’t we w/ Kobe? Arguably the best player up to Pluto.

    Lamar Odom is a keeper in that sense but if his trade nets us, say, #5 from Boston, Gerald Green and Theo Ratliff.
    Knowing Kobe’s situation, Chicago will likely be the best pick destination after all. They have the #9 to offer.

    And finally, Kurt or Reed is right. No Ben Wallace. If we are about cap positioning and young talent, Ben Wallace is so oddly out.

  126. I took robinred’s advice and checked out blog-a-bull. Seeing the situation from their point of view is CRAZY!

    First of all, it seems like 90% of the commenters do not want kobe on their team. I heard things from his age, to his crazy ego, to his inability to get teammates to play better as reasons. They all seem to really have a lot of confidence in their core of youth (Deng, Gordon, Hinrich) that they hate the thought of blowing it all up for Kobe. Especially with his ability to opt out on them in 2 years.

    And because of their lack of respect for #24, the best they are willing to offer us is Hinrich, Ty Thomas, Ben Wallace and the #9. They got to be joking! Who’s gonna score the basketball? And their team would be left with Kobe, Gordon, Deng, Nocioni, Duhon, and whatever other dudes they got on their bench and they think this would be one of the worst teams in the NBA! Those dudes are crazy.

    I’m really happy that those people in Chicago only get to see him 2 times a season. If they had watched him play every night for the last 11 seasons like we have, they would know how good he is and how hard he brings it every single night and how any ordinary sunday night game could turn into one of the greatest games in the NBA since Wilt’s 100.

  127. http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakers20jun20,1,3354980.story?coll=la-headlines-sports

    On the surface it looks like the Lakers are trying to handle this the right way. Step 2 is to get a deal or two done. Step 3 is to talk Kobe off the ledge. Step 4, come back in October and get ready to compete for a championship.

  128. Keep Kobe at all cost.

    The Lakers FO owes a contending team to Kobe.

  129. Reggie Theus over Shaw and Rambis
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2909841&campaign=rss&source=NBAHeadlines

    Great for us. They’ll get their turn.

  130. option 2 is the best

    look at 08-09 lineup

    baron d
    gilbert a
    odom
    deng
    kg

    bench
    thomas
    duhon
    turiaf
    evens
    farmar
    mo will
    mihm
    cook
    shammond

    very championship contender team

  131. Kurt, why assume Bulls would take the Radman? It’s hard enough to match Kobe’s salary.

    As a die-hard Bulls fan, I wouldn’t mind giving up Gordon + Deng + salaries for Bryant. If the Bulls could still hold onto the #9 pick I would be ecstatic.

    Any scenario where the Bulls nab Bryant, of course, would be a killing…for DA BULLS. Thank you Buss and Kupcakes for screwing up! Hopefully, Lakers front office egos get ruffled enough to foolishly unload Bryant, and Pax isn’t too attached to Deng– Deng is good but plays one of the most easily replaceable positions. Kobe’s position: “best player on the planet”, is not replaceable. Come on Pax– go for it!