Bynum’s Turn?

Kurt —  October 15, 2007

It’s no bit news that one of the keys to the Lakers improving this year is better play out of the center spot. And most Laker fans would wish for Andrew Bynum to be the guy takes a big step forward, improves his game and takes charge of the position.

But what we’ve seen through the first two preseason games from a more fit looking Bynum is some of the inconsistency that we’ve seen in years past — for example he looked great in the first half against Golden State last Thursday, then like the worst player on the floor for a stretch in the second half.

Drew realizes this is a year he should step forward, and said that in an interesting interview with the LA Times last week. He also understands that Phil is leaning another direction right now (although Bynum may not fully understand why).

“This year’s the year,” he said. “I kind of think we go as far as our young guys take us, me and Javaris [Crittenton] being the young guys, going out there and getting some things done on our second unit. I’m still trying to go out there and be a starter, but as of right now, I think Phil [Jackson] is favoring Chris Mihm — veteran status and all that.”

Note to Drew: Coaches are big on consistency. Real big.

Tom Ziller read that article and posted some interesting thoughts over at Fanhouse, talking about how he is impressed with Bynum’s maturity.

Bresnahan brings up comparisons to Jermaine O’Neal’s long maturation process with the Blazers. There’s a big difference, though: Bynum’s been given a real chance. Drew logged almost 1,800 minutes last year; J.O. didn’t get near that level until his age-22 season (his first in Indiana). And Bynum had a good year — his offensive numbers were solid, his defense was no worse than any other Lakers big.

All this Kobe ‘win now’ business has flipped our conventional wisdom on Bynum — sure, he’s not ready to dominate right now. But he’s on the path to being a very good player within a few years. He’s certainly a mile ahead of where J.O. was at this age.

It’s tough to gauge how much faster JO’s game would have matured if he had been given minutes early in his career. But even if you think Bynum can someday be a JO level player (and I’m not sold on that), the question of time is a real one for the Lakers.

There are no easy answers to this one.


If you want to see some thoughts on the Lakers season as a whole, a Lakers preview I did for Dennis Velasco at is up. The themes in that preview — better defense, need for better play at the five — will look familar to regular readers here. To cut to the bottom line, I have the Lakers at 46 wins this season if the roster remains as is (sorry, Dr. Buss, but you need a lot of breaks to reach 50 wins and I don’t think they’ll all fall your way). I’ll have a more detailed Laker preview on this site closer to the end of the month. In the mean time, check out the one, as well as the previews of the rest of the Pacific and the NBA from other team bloggers.

Also, over at Clipsnation, the 51st Carnival of the NBA is up, with thoughts (and lots of video) from NBA bloggers around the spectrum.

to Bynum’s Turn?

  1. Some of you answered this in the last comment thread, but I want to make sure that everyone has a chance — how is the site looking in Internet Explorer looking today? Things fixed? A few people said it was and I checked it on the wife’s fancy new laptop (with IE 7) last night and everything looked good. Just want us to get there.

    Also, I talked with my tech guy about the Safari numbering problem. Not sure what’s going on there but we’re looking into it.


  2. Looks great on IE for me.

    Random thoughts:

    Kobe sat out practice yesterday (Sunday) because of his knee. Any insight as to the seriousness of that malady? I wonder if that is going to be an issue come Oct. 30th and during the season.

    Also, do you expect Chris to improve significantly on his current level of play as the season gets underway? IMO, he looks subpar, at best, and certainly not notworthy. Some say this is because he has missed so much time and needs to get back into the flow. But with Phil suggesting he has to start or otherwise his bumkle won’t hold up–that is worrisome. He may just not be able to perform as he once could. Any insight as to what the coaches think?

    And then there is D-Fish. Great locker room guy, great floor general, but suspect on defense and unlikely to play many minutes. I respect Fish as a player and person, but when we say he upgrades our team, to me that obviously speaks to how pathetic Smush was and NOT to how good Fish is.

    So that tells me the two most significant upgrades, resigning Mihm and D-Fish, which have be touted by the front office, may not prove to be all that helpful. Neither of those guys would start on many teams and certainly not on any contenders.

    If Lamar can’t stay healthy this is going to be a disaster year so here is hoping is has a run of luck in the durabiliyt department.

    My x-factor is VladRam–that guy can fill it up when he gets going, but of course hurts us on defense.


  3. Looks good on my work PC with IE 6. I still am positive about Bynum’s upside,I think if he can get it straight he will end up being an above average center which isn’t a bad thing. It all boils down to can he get it together before the Kobe window closes? Anyways, playing the hindsite game, there really isn’t anyone drafted after Bynum in ’05 I’d want on the Lakers anyway, maybe Blatche, but he’s just as big a project as Bynum.


  4. Mike in the Mountain West October 15, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    The site looks good to me. I used to have to scroll down but now all the links are on the right and the articles are right up top.

    As for Bynum, I think his progress would really have to stall for him not to become a JO type player. He’s already one of the top 25 (if not top 15) centers in the league.

    O’neal averaged 12.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks during the first season he played big minutes (32.6 minutes per game) and don’t forget that he’d already played 2435 minutes over the four previous seasons. If we project Bynum’s numbers from last year where he played 21.9 minutes per game, to 32.6 minutes per game we get 11.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. And here’s the kicker, Bynum has only played 2134 total minutes, less than O’neal did prior to his breakout season. Add to that Bynum’s increased work ethic this summer and his ver mature attidude and great success for him looks likely. We can never know if someone will be a great player but in Bynum’s case all the signs seem to be pointing toward it.


  5. looks good to me, running IE 7


  6. Tom Zillers comparison of J O’neal and Andrew Bynum really isn’t very good. JO had the benifit of going to practice every day and playing against high level front court players. Wallace, Davis, Sabonis, Schremp, were all ahead of Oneal in the line up. 4 very experienced guys that new a thing or 2 about winning. so that at age 22 5 years into his career when he did get big minutes in an NBA setting he was better prepared for handling it.

    Bynum is learning on the sideline from a true master Kareem but on the floor he is facing guys with the same issues he suffers. youth inexperience and lack of skill.

    he could yet turn out to be Kwame brown redone. a big man drafted high who could not handle the pressure of playing with the best player in the game. Though Kobe did not Draft him like mike did Kwame. He has belittled him.


  7. Mike in the Mountain West October 15, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    There is an interesting article on ESPN about whether the Lakers will eventually trade Kobe. It’s a roundtable of the usual suspects and they all agree the Lakers are very likely to trade Kobe. They are a little more divided on when but most seem to think next summer.

    I have two thoughts on this. First, we’ll know if they are right by the trading deadline. If the Lakers haven’t made a trade to bring Kobe help and our current roster hasn’t magically morphed into that of a contender the odds are on Kobe getting traded. If they do make a trade then it’ll be clear they are trying to win now.

    Second, the more I think about it the more I think our best shot at a title is trading Kobe and starting over. We have a good group young players, Bynum, Farmar, Crit, and Turiaf, plus Odom (who would play much better and probably become an all-star on a Kobe-less team, just look at the first few games of last year). Add to that a Luol Deng and Ben Gordon/Kirk Hinrich and picks and we have a lot to work with towards building a dynasty. Don’t take this as Kobe bashing. I think Kobe is one of the greatest players that ever lived and he can win championships. I just thinks it’s unlikely we’ll be able to bring in kind of players we need to win another championship.

    I also think it would be fun to set ourselves up as Portlands rivals of the future.


  8. Not sure if anybody has mentioned this, but “Commenting Tips” on the right hand column doesn’t fit in its forum-blue box. The “Tips” falls to the next line and overlaps the first commenting tip.

    Also in the in the last part of your preview, they put Dallas Mavericks when you were referring to the Spurs.


  9. “Commenting tips” wraps fine in I.E. 6 for me, no obscuring of text.


  10. Andrew Bynum has shown growth and maturity off the court, but will this translate directly to strength and greatness on the court against the Tim Duncans, Kevin Garnetts, and Jermaine Oneals? It is extremely important that he has a great season or else not only will we lose Kobe, but Andrew will also be the scapegoat for not performing at a Shaq level.

    Bynum is a gyoung stud with plenty of upside. Every winner in the NBA has been known to have a killer instinct. Kobe has it, Pierce does not. Garnett has it, Jermaine does not. Shaq had it, Bynum does not. The look in your opponents eyes say it all. Can you imagine having to guard Kobe as he looks you in the eyes and says, “I’m going straight through you.” Would you bother trying to stop him? People are intimidated by Kobe, they are not the least bit fearful of Bynum. Kobe must step up as a leader and teach Andrew how to develop a killer instinct. The relentless will to win everything always.



  11. First, good to hear about IE. And Brian, I noticed that Spurs/Mavs thing (I think Dennis made an error while putting in the link, that stuff happens) and sent an email looking to get it fixed.

    2, I think it’s a little early to judge Mihm, simply because he is coming back after so long, but the guy when he went down was still really suited to be a backup center (or starter on a team where his role was limited). That’s why I’m hoping Bynum steps up — he has the best potential. But right now he is young and inconsistent.

    And we’ve been saying here for a while Fish is not a great defender. I think if the Lakers need defense at the point (in a particular matchup) we’ll see more of Farmar/Crittenton. Need some clutch shooting, I’ll take Fish.


  12. 10. Garnett does NOT have ‘it’. He puts up great numbers, is remarkably consistent, one of the top talents in the league. But a leader, a guy who puts in the dagger at the end of games? Not a chance. If ever a guy needed a charismatic leader on his side it was Garnett. See Sam Cassell and the only season KG’s wolves had a prayer in the playoffs.


  13. As far as the “Commenting Tips” visual problem I see it on Firefox 2.0 Not a big problem but thought I’d throw it in. I barely even notice it.


  14. #12
    I think when other people referred to Garnett having “it”, they were referring to the intensity and desire to win. Garnett wants to win just as badly as Kobe but doesn’t have the end of the game skills to ALWAYS take over at the end.

    The biggest question for me is the role Kobe takes this year. Supposedly he’s supposed to be more of a facilitator because Kobe’s role will ultimately define who these Lakers are. Hopefully he becomes a facilitator and defensive leader on the other end. Only time will tell.


  15. 14

    I honestly think Garnett’s desire to win is questionable. He was willing to stay in Minnesota for seemingly forever, and left not because of continued losing but distrust of ownership.

    As for Bynum, who is to judge the guy’s desires? I’m not in his head, so I have no idea. Competitors aren’t always running around screaming like Garnett sometimes does. The most fierce competitor I’ve seen outside of Kobe these days is Tim Duncan, and he’s a pretty reserved guy. But you can see in his performance that he’s out there to win. So based on that, what have we seen?

    – Worked his ass off all summer
    – Addressed main weakness of his game (conditioning/strength)

    That’s a short list, but that’s all that should be expected of him at this point. He’s doing what he’s supposed to and that should be commitment enough short of peeking into his brain; it’s the sort of thing Kobe and the other greats do, add to their game and address weaknesses. It’s the sort of thing real scrubs like Kwame never do.


  16. Long time viewer but first time poster here.

    Since the talk of “it” has surfaced, I would like to raise an issue that has bothered me for awhile. It appears to me that the front office doesn’t have “it”. They can sugarcoat their words but with all their transactions these past few years, it seems they are intent on cruise control and really not intent on winning. It’s like they are heading down the path of the pre-2006 clippers.

    On another note, is anybody else disgusted by Brian Cook’s attitude and play? When watching the preseason games I see him playing lousy D and forcing up jump shots without looking for other options. Can anyone bring up how many years are left on Cook’s contract?


  17. tremayne said exactly what I was going to….JO played behind Rasheed and those other guys (not to emntion the rest of the monsters on that Portland team)…Andrew dosent have that.

    Maybe this year with Mihm back…but…how much real experience does Chris have himself? And winning Experience?

    Did anyone see on Hoops Hype…Gilbert Arenas talking about how he could play with Kobe in LA…


  18. Cook has two years left (this season and next) at $3.5 million, plus a player option third year at that same money. I would hope the Lakers try to make him part of any trade package.


  19. The front office seems to know how to draft, these days. They haven’t done well in free agent signings. Regarding drafting; you have to be good AND somewhat lucky. Regarding free agent signings; I think they look at the price value ratio and there are very, very few free agents that are worth their asking price.

    Trading for high draft picks would seem to be the most profitable way for the Lakers to grow future stars. This does not mesh with the Kobe demands, but it seems to be a fact of life for the NBA and this FO in particular. That said, I would not trade our value assets for a proven vet at a poor price/value ratio.

    Sorry…we are who they say we are (Dennis Green – sort of).


  20. Bynum may turn out to be a pretty good player in this league but let’s be real. People either have a strong work ethic or they don’t. You can’t expect someone to suddenly turn it on (unless it’s the before a contract year) and even if they do for a little while, old habits die hard. J O’Neal worked himself into being the player he is but I still think that he could have become a better player. Bynum doesn’t have the drive to even attain that level so please stop dreaming. Also, forget about Paxson trading Hinrich, Deng, Thomas, draft picks and whomever else would be necessary to match salaries. I can see why Lakers fans would be okay with it but I don’t see why anybody in Chicago would. Fyi, a poll in the Chicago Tribune that came out this summer showed that nearly 75% of Bulls fans are AGAINST trading for Kobe. There’s no pressure for Pax to make a bad deal.


  21. The difference between 46 wins and 50 wins isn’t always a talent chasm. I’d say it’s more about consistency.

    Although that quality hasn’t shown up on display yet this preseason, I think this group is going to develop more and more of it as the season goes.

    Most of the players are nearing a more mature age and aren’t as close to the rookie end of the spectrum as they used to be.


  22. Mike in the Mtns,
    It’s hard to see how the Lakers can easily rebuild by trading Kobe-given Kobe’s trade veto clause. It is highly unlikely any contender will have the high draft picks the Lakers would want. It’s also hard to see Kobe agreeing to a trade that strips the other team of it’s talent.
    The recent history of teams trading away elite players is hardly reassuring. Philly,Orlando and the Lakers have all struggled since doing so and do not look close to contending. Toronto may prove to be the exception,but they still have to go deep into the playoffs.
    Unless the relationship gets completely unworkable,I don’t see Kobe being traded.


  23. Bynum will be a good player – but just not in Kobe’s time. I’m sorry folks, but if I have to pick a poison, Bynum’s upside compared to Kobe’s talent is a no brainer. Yes Bynum will be good. Perhaps not as-good-as-Shaq good, but good enough. However, if the dilemma is such as this, I am very surprised the choice is still Bynum.

    The FO is clearly investing and not producing. They think that if Bynum breaks out the year Kobe leaves, it won’t hurt the bottom line. Well, I’m sorry to announce but Kobe puts buts on the seats, not baby-faced centers. If we have to put it in an analogy of draft:
    Sam Bowie vs. Michael Jordan
    Greg Oden vs. Kevin Durant
    heck, Goliath vs. David

    If you ask me, the BEST thing the Lakers can do is place a 3rd star alongside Kobe and Lamar by trading Bynum, Kwame and whatever else it takes. I think Kobe has a good 5 years left, he’s been hungry for 5 already, hunting his 4th.

    I have been silent and observing Drew’s development, and I’m not convinced. Sorry, just my opinion.


  24. About trading Kobe…

    I personally think Kobe will not be traded. The offers simply will not be enough and Kobe’s veto power makes it all the more complex.

    Also, if you have been to fan forums, I hear “primadonna” Kobe’s BEST offer is Mr. 70M Gordon, Ty Thomas and Nocioni. Can you imagine?! Thats like trading Butler for Kwame all over. If that ever happened, I am bolting from the Lakers until Mr. Kupchak resigns.


  25. Many people have commented on the job of the front office. I have been anti-Mitch Kupchak for as long back as I can remember. He always seemed like he belonged in the Clippers office rather than the Lakers. The Lakers have been a successful franchise based on the ballsy moves made by previous GMs. Look at Jerry West. He has big balls. Suddenly, overnight, as he was packing his bags to run out of town, he left behind a solid team. Lets not forget that last year, everyone was criticizing the Grizzlies as being the worst team in the league, today, I have my fears of them surpassing the Lakers. For those of you that enjoy a good laugh as you read about a topic you love, visit Page 2 on ESPN and take a look at Bill Simmons’ article called: Welcome to the No Balls Association

    Enjoy the read everyone and remember, the Lakers will succeed when management decides that they want them to succeed, until then, you can count on barely making the playoffs.


  26. 23. Of course not. Kobe’s not going anywhere, at least not anytime soon. Everyone’s so ridiculous, getting their panties in a bunch over this.

    It’s a simple Catch-22. Any team he gets traded to will have to be gutted to acquire him. Ergo, no hopes of title contention will be there to be had.


  27. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Bynum does NOT have “it.” It isn’t skill or condition, but “it” to me is a combination of skill, savy, mental make-up, and a desire to eat your opponent alive. You can say Duncan doesn’t have this, but watch the guy play sometimes, You can just see it in his play. And he gets pretty fired up sometimes. I just don’t see Bynum reaching that high of a level of play and even if he does, how long is it going to take him? Two more years? Three? Four? Let’s be real; his best value is to get that third big-time scorer. Even if you end up trading Kobe, would you rather have whatever you get for Kobe, LO, and Bynum? Especially if the Bulls won’t part with Heinrich AND Deng? Who wants that crap if you can’t get those two guys? I’d rather have LO, someone like JO, and whatver you get for Kobe. And honestly, if you trade for JO, Kidd, or someone comparable, can you really see Kobe bolting a title contending team? No way.

    I just think that Bynum is going to be a fine rotational player, a starter even, but a star? I’m not sold. I know he hasn’t even played organized ball that long, but I don’t want to risk Kobe’s prime on the hope that Bynum MIGHT turn into a dominating force.

    As for this year, let’s see Bynum beat out Mihm and Kwame first. If he can, give him the jiob. I already don’t like his attitude with his comments about Jax favoring Mihm. He needs to shut his mouth and just freakin PLAY! I’m sick of hearing potential and yada yada. Just shut up and PLAY.


  28. And another thing, what do you think Kobe actually thinks of Bynum? Not as simply a player, a project, or whatever. My money is on Kobe thinking Bynum is a freakin carebear. Kobe values players with heart and I can’t imagine he doesn’t have the utmost respect for Odom for how he played through excruciating pain and suffering through the stretch run/playoffs and all of last year really…both mental and physical. But Bynum? Kobe can see it. Until Bynum proves otherwise, Kobe isn’t going to respect him and be patient. Can’t say I blame him.


  29. I love it that people are bagging on Bynum because of his ‘poor work habits’. Like…we really know what his work habits are. People are talking about a 19yr old kid like they can see inside his head. Regardless what the ‘talking heads’ say, Buss was quoted directly as saying Bynum is a key request by teams around the league, in trade scenarios proposed. It really doesn’t seem like the guy is a particular ‘dog’.

    Kobe and Jackson are pushing their own particular engines and they don’t necessarily correspond with the Lakers best long-term interests.

    People are starting to realize that if Kobe walks, he walks. If any of the player evaluations are half way accurate, then my bet is that Kobe doesn’t leave. He will probably lose bags of money and the only way to get out will be to agree to a sign and trade. That may just be to a club he may not want to go to or one that is being stripped toaccommodate his salary demands. The way out is just not in Kobe’s favor, unless he is willing to sacrifice large amounts of cash.

    Let’s not screw this entire thing up by trading away our best youngsters and insuring that Kobe will not win a championship.


  30. Craig, I understand the love for Bynum. I mean, whether it be East or West, there are only a fingerful that can be named to correspond to the possible contribution Bynum can offer.

    However, it must not stop the Lakers from building a contender too. Remember that while however illogical things may be, a lot of times the heart rules over the head and that this is one sacrifice I bet Kobe will be willing to make. For instance, and I’m being speculative to prove a point, Kobe chooses to sign to a team for say, 5M less than he deserves to receive for a chance to Win, as he describes it.

    I am not suggesting that we trade Bynum for JUST ANYONE, I want to see the FO “explore” possible big bangs using Bynum and Kwame as baits. Not that we rush into what might be an illogical downgrade, but just something for everyone – the Lakers and Kobe + Phil, and to douse a little fire to this already blown out of proportion hype.

    I don’t get the love for Chicago, and the love back. I mean, Gordon, Ty Thom and Nocioni plus add whatever simply isn’t commensurate enough for me. It has to at least start with Deng and Hinrich and you can throw in whatever there to make it at least reasonable. However, I bet you 50 bucks to win 500 that does not happen. Chicago will either chicken out and Kobe simply won’t allow his new team to be gutted out as well. There can be no middle ground here.

    In the end, I hope that the FO show a little “enthusiasm” in exploratory talks regarding Bynum. I think Bynum has more motivation to work his butt off if he hears he is being traded rather than convince Kobe to call this bluff. In the end, while it may be highly political so to speak, Kobe still outweighs these things.

    The biggest gauge of these things will be Lamar Odom. If he starts the year with a bang, all else become lesser options. Kobe will have an able buddy to ease of the load while he can “coast” the regular season with relative ease and showcase his magic in the playoffs. I just think Kobe is pacing himself from the burnout of the 82-game sked, I think there isn’t much anymore left come playoffs due to the mileage.

    Therefore, If I were given the keys to that office Mitch so graciously reclines on, here’s what I’d do:

    First, take a look at the payroll. You might notice that Brian Cook’s extension has single-handedly brought us to pay roughly 3M in luxury taxes while being nothing more than paper weight on the office. I’d take Coby Karl over him 7 days a week.

    Second, project possible ROI (return of investment) in a case of a Bynum-trade. Philly looks like a team that has a high pick for next year. Adding Bynum to Iguodala MIGHT interest the 76ers. Explore…

    Third, come up with a proper plan with the potentials of this team (I guess this is more of Phil’s job) and reassure other players of PT IF they hustle back on D. Defense is such a cliche… We already know it, yet we do not do it. Or can we simply not?

    Lastly, do not pretend to be OK when you are not. Be a team in search of something BIGGER rather than pose to media as “they need us more than we need them” kind of GM. Remember, all this drama would not be talked about if we clearly aren’t in need. It just makes us look more like the fools we already are.

    Oh and heres a chaser: Move on from the KG sweepstakes. Call it conspiracy but admit the fact that we lost that one and that there are still ways to make this team an altogether better team.


  31. Pardon the long post guys… as soon as fantasy basketball season kicks in, the venting might ease off a bit. I just wish a 16-yr Laker fan from the Philippines gets a chance to see his favorite TEAM play beyond May.

    Its hot here in our place. 32C by noontime is a daily sight. However, the Laker Kool-aid always refreshes me everytime.


  32. the other Stephen October 16, 2007 at 12:58 am

    don’t be day traders, guys!


  33. Craig W.,
    I agree that we can’t just give up our prized assets like Bynum for a weak return asset. The main issue is Bryant and Phil Jackson are going to the Hall of Fame and of course they’re going to be concerned about the next one or two years. Winning a championship is the only thing that matters, they’re both entering the final stage of their amazing careers and don’t want to waste it developing a decent team. Decent isn’t going to satisfy these two and I don’t blame them. I would rather have one championship in ten years than 10 years of playoffs and no championships. When Kobe and Phil are gone, let’s go into rebuilding mode. It’s an insult to Kobe and Phil to make them play w/o adding real difference making talent since trading O’neal.

    If no moves are made to improve the Lakers he’s going to leave b/c of the lack of commitment to winning the Lakers have been displaying. Yet he does not have the right to criticize his boss in such a critical manner. The Lakers will not jeopardize getting nothing in return and realize that they have burned the bridge to Bryant and he would leave via free agency and leave the Lakers in the dust.

    Bringing us to three options:
    1. Everyone plays above themselves and the Lakers become contenders. (not likely with stacked west)
    2. Make a trade for a difference maker elevating the Lakers status. Fans most favored option (not business savvy-b/c they’d be sacrificing the future for the present)
    3. Do nothing and eventually have to trade Kobe in a messy break up. Also losing Phil and leaving the team to finally let Bynum develop at his own rate and blow up the team.

    Finally, Bynum will not develop into an All Star as long as Kobe and Phil are on the team. I can guarantee that. Oh and if people think Bynum is going to be as good as Shaq you don’t know how to evaluate talent. Shaq goes down as one of the 3 best centers ever. Bynum has a long ways to go and will have to learn to carry a team and be a leader like how Duncan has matured in the past 8 years. I’m not saying that he won’t, it’s just that it will take a longggg time.
    Not something I’d risk Kobe’s prime over. But wouldn’t mind if we were really blowing everything up. We’re rooting for the Lakers it’s not good enough to be relevant we need to be the best. Don’t let the FO make you believe anything other than that.


  34. #15
    KG’s a winner but the reason i respect him the most is because he has loyalty. that’s the reason he stayed in MN for so long. u can’t convince me otherwise he has so much intensity it’s just that he was playing on such a weak team. losing took its toll on him but that desire to win is always in his heart. if you still don’t believe me check out this interview with John Thompson and KG.

    I hope you realize why I’m so sad we lost out on him.

    Sorry for the long posts, couldn’t sleep.


  35. Warren,
    It is us fans and the media ‘hype’ guys that make this such a firestorm. We want this to be a four-alarm fire so that we can have our daily ‘fix’.

    There is really no way to trade Bynum and get back as much potential and talent as we already have. We must include another, highly paid player and that not only guts us of that player plus potential, but also gives us an already well paid and known talent. We will be in trouble – taxwise – if we go down this road.

    Trading Kobe is a problem for much the same reason. We can’t get value, but we must match salaries. In his case we may be able to get some draft picks, but we will still be stuck with some large salary requirements and – no Kobe!

    The Lakers are better off waiting – till FEB if things go really south this year and till Kobe opts out (or most likely not) if things do work out this year. Why all the discussion?


  36. Why all the discussion?

    B/c stupid Buss opened his big mouth after things kind of settled down.


  37. Lots of important and useful information, but I think we’ve all forgotten one of the biggest things… and this happens two years down the road. Next Summer and PreSeason, we will all be having these same discussions, but the following summer, Kobe can opt out of his contract. He becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent and can go wherever he wants.

    So, the FO’s hands are becoming squeezed and they have until next Summer to address the issues; plus, Mr. Bryant also has a No-Trade Clause. The FO might find the ideal situation for the Lakers, but it may not necessarily be ideal for No. 24. Guess what? No deal.

    Lakers are screwed. I hate it, but The-Player-Formally-Wearing-No. 8 has the FO by the balls. At the Maximum, we have The-Former-Charlotte Hornet for another 2 years. After that, all bets are off as to what happens.

    Bynum has potential, but I wish he’d just wake up and start playing like we all know that he can. I’d like to see him calmly telling Kobe in the Huddle to just give him the ball… and then taking it to the opponent. ‘Ala Tim Duncan (The most under-the-radar assassin in the business).

    Lastly, Kevin Garnett is a Role-Player. He can NEVER carry a team. Ask Sam Cassell.


  38. Sorry, Buss was open and honest with the press.

    It is all of us who are overreacting. If a great deal comes along, the Lakers will make it, if not, then NO DEAL!


  39. I agree with Craig,

    Laker fans: RELAX, the season is 2 weeks away. personally, since the whole “shaq-kobe” wars, I tune out the talking heads. Most of these stories are generated to boost circulation or site hits. Most of the quotes are already old, and theres no new news. And you know what, if they trade Kobe and all of this circus atmposhere crap went away, maybe, in the long run, thats not so bad. The Lakers, even when there was drama in the 80’s were about what happened on the court. This Kobe-led incarnation is not, and I sincereley hope that changes, with or without Kobe.


  40. Why all this drama over Kobe’s comments doesn’t even make sense to me. Players and coaches are terrible at personnel decisions. Almost always. Examples:

    – D’Antoni locking up Diaw for a huge contract
    – Isiah Thomas.

    Kobe wanting to trade Bynum for Kidd is a terrible decision, and I don’t think there can be a good argument otherwise. That kills all future trade chips and doesn’t put us over the top at all and really only gives Kobe an excuse to ‘run’ (which I suspect is a part of his frustrations). All the heat Bynum is getting is ridiculous. Yes, this is not an ideal situation. But that was the best the FO could do. Noone on that draft board could have helped us nearly as much as he has so far (Danny Granger? Hakeem Warrick? We don’t need more SFs or Tweeners). Given that, yes, Bynum CAN be traded for a player like JO that could help us reach a new level. Why hasn’t it happened yet? Ask Larry Bird who’s been trying to rip us off and make the deal non-negotiable with the addition of LO. That would NOT help us reach the new level, so no trade. Buss has himself said Bynum is not off limits. So until a good trade that helps us comes along for Bynum, why not just lay off? It’s not the best situation, but this is a much better position (having a tradeable asset who may come into his own) than not.

    *Side-note: Al Jefferson, who everyone is so high on these days, really didn’t start producing at a high level until the last half of last season. Before that he looked pretty lost, like a guy who didn’t have ‘it’ or would never put it all together. Given decent playing time and development time, look what happened. Yes Bynum doesn’t look great yet, but he’s shown flashes, just like Al. Either way, the point is that it is way too early to call. Kwame? Called, busted, done and done. Bynum? Jury’s out, but the verdict looks more in our favor than not.


  41. – Forgot to add in bad players/coaches as GMs: Everything ever done by Kevin McHale and Larry Bird


  42. Pssst…. It’s not Kobe’s knees that are sore, it’s his ego after Buss’s announcement!

    Take that and run to the top of the rumor mill, Kurt.


  43. Was Buss being open and honest? I don’t know. But his change of tone and language seems deliberate. It’s worth noting (as the Times columnist did) that his “this is a business” stance was out of character. He has always talked about the organization as a “family” in the past, and Kobe has always been his favorite son (sorry Jim). The press is definitely making way too much of this story, but in hindsight, I do think some new ground was broken. It may just signal a change in Buss’ personal relationship with Kobe. In which case, who cares? But I believe him when he says he will field offers, and I don’t think he would hesitate if the right one came along. A year ago, he wouldn’t have moved Kobe for a package that far exceeded “fair value”.


  44. 41-42. Yeah. Michael Jordan had tantrums and was crying for deals to be made of his own envisioning before the Bulls won their first title . Didn’t believe the front office had given him much to work with. Whoops.


  45. This story has legs because the press opinion people need drama to thrive and this is a dramaless time in the NBA. Aside that, this is a mountain out of a molehill to me. And really, I think Buss will try hard to bring someone in to the Lakers to make the team a contender until about the draft next year, when the offers to send Kobe out likely will be more serious (maybe in February too, depending on how things shake out).

    Also, for the most part people are doing a good job of keeping this from being about specific trade offers — thanks! I think I’ve only deleted one comment in this thread.

    42. Maybe Kobe is ticked, but if he thought Buss would just stand there and take the heat and not set up a defensive position, he’s being naive.


  46. I agree with Kurt (44). I think this whole thing is being blown out of proportion by the media because it sells. Basically I think Buss was just saying, Kobe wants to be traded but we don’t want to trade. We will try everything possible to put a winning team out there and make Kobe happy, but if we can’t and the right offer comes along then we will do as Kobe as asked. But only if the offer is good for both sides. I would have said something similar if I owned the team as well.

    He is just basically saying that he is not going to make any trades that are going to hurt his beloved franchise. Either by trading Kobe or making a bad trade just to try to make Kobe happy.


  47. Kurt,
    Everyone is talking about the FO making changes to the roster(with or without Kobe), but what are the chances of Buss making changes to the front office to please Kobe instead? Obviously Kobe is not satisfied with the people running the Lakers (and for good reasons). Do you think bringing Kobe approved personnel to run the FO will make any difference to his stance on his trade request?


  48. 47. Slim and none, really. Buss would no let any player — even Kobe — tell him how to run his organization, or allow him to hire and fire a GM. Now, if you’re a coach that ticked off Magic, that may be a different story….


  49. See, this is where our minds do not meet. Let me use the analogy of Poker and Cards if i may.

    We all agree that Bynum holds a card under his sleeve. As of now, we know they’re tens – not face cards yet, but really close. Odom is a face card, more like a jack and Kobe is definitely an ace. The proposal I was throwing into the pit suggests we get another jack out of “tens-Bynum” and perhaps we could squeeze in something like “eights” from another prospect. Of course no prospect shall be another “ten” like Bynum is, otherwise, these prospects have already budded into “jacks or queens” like Iguodala, Al Jefferson and Luol Deng. LeBron, Wade and Melo are Kings nearing Aces status already…

    Quick Question: Why do we think our future rests on Bynum alone? Or that by trading Bynum we lose the future?

    Bynum will never be Shaq – more so with Kobe and Phil hounding his behind all day. So why not be productive with this kind of asset? If not, then deal Kobe now and simply INVEST on Bynum altogether. The Status Quo is what makes things questionable. I am not saying we trade Bynum for Brad Miller here, its a question of stand.


  50. Couldn’t we literally GIVE Cook to the Bobcats? They are well under the cap and could eat the salary. I feel we are better off using his roster spot on someone else.


  51. Warren,
    You are right about the fans being absolutely nuts about the status quo. However, your poker analogy does not take into account costs and marketing. Trading a very inexpensive 10 for a much more expensive 10-J means we have to give up some value (9-10) that is costing us and we shouldn’t try to say we will throw in Cook – very few will want him at his current contract.

    Another point…we are enjoying dumping on the FO, but should we? How many FOs made big trades last summer? Danny Ainge – and he gave up the Celtic’s entire future – and Isaah Thomas. The FO I would point to would be the Bobcats, but their history in the draft would say they are also not a complete success story. We have a FO that drafts well, but has problems trading for talent – a very, very difficult task even in the best of times. If we do anything, I would say we bring in a trading specialist, not throw out the baby with the bath water.

    It is our coaching staff that should be held accountable for the development of our drafted youngsters.


  52. Seems to be a heated debate here. I find it interesting to read all the mixed emotions on Bynum’s future. Some believe he will be successful, others feel he will fail. Either way, the question is not what to do with Bynum, but what to do with the LAKERS. Do we appease Kobe and build a contender (potentially consisting of simple role players that can make shots…aka 2004 Pistons) or do we start our rebuilding process by getting rid of everything that we don’t need. Do we trade Kobe, expiring contracts + 1 or 2 potential players? Do we trade Kwame for potential or just absorb his expiring contract and make some room for next year? Would New Jersey be willing to take Lamar Odom for Richard Jefferson?

    Every team seems to take a similar approach to trades…”LETS WAIT IT OUT”… The Lakers are waiting for Larry Bird to budge and give up on Lamar, the Bulls are waiting for the Lakers to give up on Deng and Gordon, and so on and so on. It appears that there is a lot more drama this season thus far than last season, I am expecting a big trade deadline, it will be exciting to see what GM’s decide to do with their stars as their teams continue to fail.


  53. Kobe – Nobody ever mentioned jack about his knees or his playing time on this post. Wow… PJ needs to think about reducing his minutes to 35 this year. His knees aren’t getting healthier and he kills his players. Same with Odom. He can’t be out there 40+ minutes a game like last year. Just look what Analmen did to Predrag and C-Webb.

    Fisher – His defense looked much better with AK and Okur watching the paint. Probably cause PGs would not go drive directly to the basket.

    Mihm – Looks steps slower versus old self. Still will have foul trouble too.

    Rony – Needs to learn the 4. Much more comfortable in the paint as a 5.

    Cook – Trade him for a 2nd rounder and cash to the Rockets or the Bobcats.


  54. 53. Nobody is getting too worried/excited about anything after two preseason games, including Kobe’s knees, Mihm’s play after a year off or Ronny’s adjustments. Fisher was never a good defender, so his play shouldn’t be a shock.

    That said, I like the idea of cutting back Kobe’s playing time, but that is really dependent on getting some easy wins so he doesn’t have to play late. The Lakers haven’t done much of that the last couple years.


  55. Yes, I have heard the rumor that Kobe cleaned out his locker. Not sure what that means yet, or if it’s true (not that I don’t trust sports talk radio, but….). As soon as I have more definitive news I may open a new post/comment thread.


  56. Kurt, don’t worry about it, it came from the Loose Cannons and they have never been right about anything.


  57. They are the kings of sensationalism, which is why I want a more reliable report before saying anything. But I got a couple emails mentioning it, and there is a lot of “heat” out there. But for now, I’m holding the trade-talk ban in place until we have a better understanding of what has happened.


  58. And, it appears the whole rumor was BS (from what Kobe said in a brief interview). I should know better than to even mention this in the comments.


  59. You had me worried for a second there, Kurt.


  60. I mean to say, I don’t hear rumors often since I pretty much get all my Lakers info from this blog, so if it’s posted here, it carries weight for me. I imagine there are rumors like this that are out every day.


  61. Can we just play ball and not worry about this off the court stuff. See, this is why I said it was bad of Buss to say the things he said last week. Just has the sharks looking for blood and making up very untrue things


  62. Kurt, nobody here blames you for mentioning the rumor in your comment. I heard the rumor earlier today and it was devastating. I’m a little relieved to hear that he has not cleared out his locker, although I am still pretty worried.

    Today has been one of the most painful days I have had as a Laker fan. I am a Laker fan 1st and a Kobe fan 2nd, meaning I will root for the Lakers no matter who they have, but I still want Kobe here. He belongs here. To hear that the wheels are turning on a potential trade scares the hell out of me. Partly because I have watched Kobe since he was 17, and partly because I know that if we trade him away for youth, we will be starting all over and have to wait another 3-4 years to be anything close to a contender again.

    As a Laker fan, I feel betrayed by the front office. Kobe, Phil and every fan in LA wants to WIN WIN WIN. I don’t understand why the management doesn’t feel the same way. We would not even be talking about this right now if they had done SOMETHING in the summer to improve the roster.

    All we can do is sit back and let the Laker front office decide the team’s fate. They say they are making decisions based on the best interest of the team… personally I do not see how getting rid of the best player on Earth and potentially the best coach on Earth is a move in the right direction.


  63. We were praying for training camp to start so we could get some real information.

    Now we are waiting for the season to start so we can get some real information.

    I just check back here periodically to see what new rumors are floating around. This place is a lot more reliable than the ‘talking heads’.


  64. @62: That’s my whole point. From what I heard, the Lakers inquired about Camby and were told it would take more than Kwame. Well, how much more? I mean really, if it was a draft pick, a spare part, cash, whatever, why not explore deeper talks? Having a defensive big man w/ a sweet 15-18 footer in the middle like Camby would do wonders for LA.


  65. We are still assuming that something could have happened this summer. Kobe or no Kobe the Lakers cannot make a trade just to make a trade. There has to be some objective. Fans seem to think we just had to do something. WHAT? Be specific and give some factual context. The fact is we do not know what went on this summer because any front office will not talk about what they didn’t get done. That is a sure way to destroy their own team unity and prevent any other club from talking to them.

    There wasn’t much out there this summer, besides KG. What! We should have traded with Portland for their head case?

    We are still all just running around trying to count the number of pins sticking out of our foot. Stop runnning.


  66. Jerry Buss is a wealthy man, but for the most part he’s only rich because he owns the Lakers and built them into a winning dynasty. He’s not like Cuban or some of the other owners that are stinking rich and decided to buy a sports team and are willing to throw money around to try to buy a winning team. This is pretty much all he has to pass on to his family. I think he was guilty of trying to think too long term, get his kids in there to run it and keep the ball rolling so he can go to Carlsbad and party with 25year old blondes.
    I think they lied to Kobe to resign him. I think the Buss’s thought Kobe is the meal ticket for the here and now. He fills the seats. He sells the merchandise. Just field a playoff team until Bynum develops. All you have to do is look at all the moves they’ve made and DIDN’T make to see their agenda. They’re betting Bynum is the future.
    This is all Jerry Buss’ fault for not trying to get all-star talent around Kobe while he had the chance. He’s had 3 years.
    I’m as big a Kobe fan as anyone. I stuck up for him thru thick and thin. Defended him from all the accusations of being selfish, a ballhog, etc….but if he truly doesn’t want to be a Laker anymore and there is no changing his mind, then it’s time to trade him.

    If you love someone, set them free.


  67. You can’t just say “set them free”. There is a lot more to it than that. Are you proposing we send Kobe away for 3 future 1st round draft picks, PJ Brown and David Lee? We need some logic behind what we do. Obviously, other teams aren’t as serious about getting a deal done for Kobe based on the fact that we haven’t heard any rumors of teams trying to get him. There have been no offers for him realistically. Don’t you realize that whenever the Lakers pursued a player this year, everyone know what the trade was that was proposed, whereas there hasn’t been any proposal on ESPN or even on Come on guys, lets be realistic for just a little while, Kobe is not going anywhere until a team decides to give up someone of value…


  68. Even if Kobe opts out he will require a sign and trade to avoid a massive loss in salary – assuming he wants to go to a contending team. This means a massive influx of salary for the Lakers – something they may not want to do. Thus Kobe can sign for the midlevel exception or remain a Laker for 4yrs.

    While this may not be exactly what happens, it is a high probability. Nobody has been talking about this because the assumption is that anyone will pay anything for Kobe. The CBA is not set up to encourage this.

    The Lakers can afford to wait until/if someone comes up with a good deal and Kobe wants to go there. Let’s all keep our shirts on.


  69. Kurt,

    I don’t care for ideal speculation either, however, if you watched P.J.’s comments in his interview after practice today something is clearlly going on. Kobe sat out under “mutual agreement.” Phil noticed stuff was missing from his locker. The dude isn’t practicing. His demeanor during the interview today is terrible even though he said all the “right” stuff.

    Silly trade rumours are one thing, but clearly the Lakers are trying to move Kobe before the season starts. That may not happen, but even if is doesn’t, this whole mindset of Kobe wanting out and Lakers willing to move him is going to have a major negative impact on the team’s chemistry, meaning this season is going to be a waste, which is why I’m convinced he is going to be move within the next week.

    But to just dismiss all that is going on as worthless gossip is to ignore the reality of Phil’s interview, Kobe’s demeanor, and Buss’s comments.


  70. Jim, I don’t question that the Lakers will listen to offers right now, but first off major trades are almost never made during training camp. Second, you can’t question that this got blown way out of proportion today. I got more emails today than I did during Kobe’s summer rants.

    I’ll agree that this whole situation is not silly. Disgusting maybe….


  71. While it may be interpreted as Buss “simply being honest” statements, isn’t it more of a retaliation move that while Kobe says everything is A-ok, Buss says No! I’m trading You, I’m waiting for the right offer…

    Either way, its a distraction. I wouldn’t be surprised if this season became the most controversial season in NBA History – the League’s best big man traded (KG), and the leagues best player traded (Kobe).

    Its such a cliche to say “I will be a Laker fan 1st and Kobe fan 2nd”, a lot of kids grew up loving the Lakers coz of Kobe too. Half of my Laker-fan life I was a Magic-Kareem-Worthy fan and I marvel at the thought of West, Chamberlain, Mikan and Baylor. Yet, half of my fan-life is owed to Kobe and Shaq – up til now.

    Now the Lakers WILL TRADE Kobe for the right price… LA better makes good on this one and not take that Gordon, Nocioni, Thomas offer from the Bulls, or else, my reverence for the franchise is wasted. I still respect what they have done in the past, but its no excuse to WASTE the future on some above-average scrubs.


  72. chris henderson October 16, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    I agree with Jim, and I’m trying not to buy into all this media created, buss-fed hysteria…but it does look like kobe is sitting, while the lakers management shops around for the best offers. feels to me like we very well could see a major shake up before the season starts.
    if so, then it’s looking like dr buss is one who holds a grudge, and I guess that’s his right, but sometimes it could cost him dearly, first shaq (after his “pay me!” at a training camp) now kobe after his (…”he’s an idoit” comment). and, even if no trade happens, the vibe is certainly there for a very weird season… too bad, bad for everyone, the team, the fans, the organization, coaches, just everyone.
    not sure who’s to blame in the end, certainly fed by enough elements, first kobe, then the media, those AM radio guys have got to go…(but they have an audience, so they are just filling a need) then buss, and the media again.


  73. We are all trying to find someone to blame. Rarely is it only one person who is to blame for any situation – for example:

    Jerry West was frustrated with Jerry Buss about money, then Phil Jackson stepped in and usurped some of his power. He left the Lakers and now many people say he was the glue holding Kobe and Shaq together, while Phil let them fight. There was blame in at least 3 places in that instance and I probably don’t know the half of what went on.

    This has roots in Kobe and both Buss’s. However, it ends it is unlikely to be pretty. However, I don’t feel the team will be ‘down the toilet’ if Kobe stays. Once between the lines and with Phil Jackson, I suspect Kobe is going to be his usual self. The problem will be getting to the games.

    Meanwhile, I can really do nothing except wait and listen – ouch! Did I say that?


  74. Craig, quick qestion: Do you think Kobe will be traded?

    Its purely speculative but I think the best time to do so is at the end of this season – after the lottery is set and just before the draft. Philadelphia could use Ty Thom in exchange for their 08 1st, Phoenix could use Joakim Noah in exchange for their Atlanta pick. If indeed the Lakers pull the trigger, a 3rd and 4th team has to be involved. I cannot imagine myself rooting for a Ben Gordon-led Laker team… though it can be argued that Lamar Odom becomes the true leader here.


  75. If the lakers do trade Kobe it will be one of the darkest days in the history of the Franchise since chick passed…

    Why? He is not only the greatest force in the game today but arguably the best of all-time. There is no Trade.. short of gutting a contender for the title that would make this ever, ever, ever make sense to me.

    Why is it as die-hard Laker fans that we always just sit so passively by as the slowly denudung mind of Jerry Buss and the ineffectual Mitch K. drive our beloved purple & gold into the ground?

    We dumped the greatest force in the game for spare parts. Traded away another all-star (Caron Butler) for a BUST. Refused numerous trade ovations (Baron Davis, Jason Kidd). And these guys (The FO) didn’t think that Kobe would cry foul? He’s been so, so wronged… It’s almost like I’m starting to feel that Dr. Buss deserves this treatment…

    You know, it wasn’t that long ago that LA was THE place to be. Everybody wanted to be a Laker… Then Shaq and Dr. Buss feud… then Shaq exposes the, “inner workings” of the FO… and some folks, mostly players start to believe it… pretty soon it takes a life of it’s own and Whammo! Here we are today, right smack dab in the middle of anither sequence of assinine events triggered by Dr. Buss and his need for Revenge. Can’t he see he’s driving every great player away from us like the plague? He and Mitch are like a WWF tag-team of idiocy that beats this organization into the ground.

    What the heck happened to this organization? This is just so sad to experience… for all of us who stuck through the thick and thin of the Ceballos years, and Asst. Coach Del Harris and the Nick Van Exel attitude problems and the Eddie Jones for Glen Rice swap and the Rambis as Coach… To finally realize all that potential wtith Phil and to have it crash again…

    3 Years. It’s Been 3 Seasons since we started “rebuilding”… essentially the only significant thing we didi to ensure a post season life is.. bring back Phil and lock up Kobe long term… and both of those where accomplished over two years ago.

    It sucks because we all know the magic of the “golden armor”… we all know that any squad that puts on those colors and gets coached by one of the All-Time Greats always has a chance…no matter how slim.

    And…I guess we still have a chance w/o Kobe… but the sad thing is… w/o Kobe Phiil won’t be far behind and then we get Rambis again!!

    I just pray iI’m wrong and everything is just hunky-dory… I still love you Lakers…


  76. I stay away from the computer for 24 hours and in between we are almost blown away and sent into full fledged rebuilding mode. I hate sensational writing, people are just dying for juicy news it’s like the male version of Melrose Place and the Young and the Restless.

    It’s no wonder star players are now hesitant to come to LA (KG). So much drama and the season hasn’t even started. Who wants to go to a workplace where the whole environment is hooked up with explosives just waiting to be set off.

    I just wonder what it’ll take for the Lakers to be relevant again. Say Kobe leaves and takes all the stars and money with him is it only then that the FO realizes that they screwed up?

    Is it really that hard to make this relationship work? I can’t believe the Laker personalities have gone down this road AGAIN!!! Can’t believe they didn’t learn after Shaq was traded. The chances are getting slimmer that this whole thing will blow over with each day… why did it have to come to this?


  77. One quick important point: Lamar has been quoted saying that he plans on playing out the remainder of his contract, only in Los Angeles, and will probably retire at the end of his current deal. This obviously makes trading him a bit difficult, but wouldn’t it be worth pulling the trigger on including him with Bynum to Indiana; or maybe even Odom, Kwame, Evans for Jermaine?? a solid forward to replace Jermaine… a great shooting guard, and 9 million worth of expiring contract… Larry Bird has gotta be smart enough to realize his franchise is truly not going anywhere the way it’s built right now.


  78. Travis Y.
    That Melrose Place comment was great. That is EXACTLY what sports is for many of us.

    A) Things are probably not at bad as reported right now.
    B) The Lakers will not destruct if Kobe leaves.

    We have good players; we just don’t have experienced, known, highly paid good players. This is a fan problem, not necessarily an organizational problem.

    PS. I want to quiet down and really hope Kobe will stay with the Lakers for the remainder of his career.


  79. Buss rekindled the fire after Kobe reported to the camp and recommitted himself to playing for the team. The anger should be at the Busses for opening his big fat mouth now. The antics keep on b/o Buss’ stupidity/hurt big ego .


  80. 79 – Really? Mad? Assuming there is something to be mad about, assuming that Kobe really was taken aback, assuming this is not just media sensationalism, assuming that Kobe’s decision really was affected by Buss’ comments, how can you be mad? Anyone who read the transcript can tell you that the Dr.s comments were pretty benign. If the relationship was so tenuous between the Lakers and Kobe that THAT is all it took to piss Kobe off, wasn’t it bound to happen eventually? That talk wasn’t going away. Think what you may about the coming season but it’s going to be hard. There will be abysmal failures amongst the successes. You don’t think after the first embarrassing loss to the 76ers there would be a slew of talk about whether this is exactly the thing that makes 24 want to leave? I don’t think we need to be mad at anyone.