Kobe destinations, from M.J.'s old team to his new one

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 6:05 am
Kobe destinations, from M.J.'s old team to his new one

June 19, 2007
By Tony Mejia
CBS SportsLine.com Staff Writer


Phil Jackson doesn't want to believe it. Neither does Jerry Buss, who Kobe Bryant flew all the way out to Barcelona to confront. The Lakers know they may take a hit at the gate, and may even lose a few fans because of this. Bryant's influence has become that great.

That's why they've got to let him go.

At this point, it looks like they made their decision when opting to keep Andrew Bynum at the deadline in a deal that would have landed Bryant the backcourt mate he coveted in Jason Kidd. It was clear then that move infuriated Bryant, and it's even more clear now, thanks to a video shot at a Newport Beach deli that's set to circulate the Internet. Of course, if you read this column regularly, you already knew that, and you knew it back then.

Bryant threw his first tantrum after the Suns pushed the Lakers right out of the postseason, then followed it up by not even making it to June before saying he would never play for the team again, and has reiterated his position.

The Lakers have enough of a following to start over with a new nucleus. As it is, the current Kobe-led one is entertaining but yielding little more than .500 finishes. That they are the Lakers allows them to let this drag on long enough where they won't lose face, but at some point, you figure Buss will tire of letting his organization get called out by its star.

If they can't get Bryant a stud like Kevin Garnett or Jermaine O'Neal, they have to let him go. Seriously, can you imagine having Bryant come back to L.A. to play with the berated Bynum? That could stunt the kid's development forever.

At this point, you either admit that Bryant is L.A.'s real GM, do whatever it takes to pry him an All-Star big man, and smile a toothless smile when you introduce his new running mate or you move your icon, no matter how crazy it sounds.

You just can't trade him anywhere in the Western Conference, because that's counter-productive. Don't think Bryant doesn't know that, either, because by putting the Lakers in this position, he fully expects to get his way, either ending up with a top-notch running mate or ending up in the East, where he can make an immediate and significant impact.

If this becomes a sweepstakes, here are the teams best equipped to make the biggest splash:

1. Chicago: This is where Bryant most wants to be, because he understands they have the most pieces to make a deal work without compromising a supporting cast that can challenge for a championship immediately. There will probably have to be another team involved to make the numbers work, but parts like Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Chris Duhon, Andres Nocioni and a top 10 draft pick in the upcoming draft make them L.A.'s most attractive potential trade partner.

2. Washington: Coming on the heels of Gilbert Arenas announcing he will opt out of is current contract in order to force a longer-term deal at season's end, the idea of acquiring Bryant is getting toyed with in the capital city. The Lakers would insist on getting Caron Butler back, but would probably have to settle for Antonio Daniels and Brendan Haywood. If Bryant forces L.A.'s hand, this might not be as crazy as it sounds. At the very least, Arenas has proven he can fill an arena, and Jackson's hair is already filled with as many gray hairs as he can get.

3. New York: Bryant would love to entertain nightly at the Garden, restoring a franchise that gets excited over competing for the playoffs back to a level of true respectability. The Knicks have large salaries to mix and match, but the asking price would no doubt include Stephon Marbury, Channing Frye, David Lee and perhaps Jamal Crawford or Quentin Richardson. Isiah Thomas is not shy about trading draft picks or taking risks, and James Dolan has proven he's only interested in the bottom line. Bryant would undoubtedly help that, and if he can win here, he'd become a legend on both coasts.

4. Boston: Yes, it's sacrilege to even mention sending a Lakers icon here, but the Celtics are working to make a splash, and don't seem thrilled about having to add more young talent to the mix with that No. 5 pick. Boston would have Paul Pierce, an L.A. native, to dangle as the major drawing card. They would look to keep Al Jefferson at all costs, but have young pieces like Gerald Green, Kendrick Perkins and Sebastian Telfair to work with, not to mention that aforementioned lottery pick.

5. Detroit: If Joe Dumars decides he needs to make a splash to invigorate the franchise, he can really break up the Pistons by moving both Rasheed Wallace and Richard Hamilton. This still gives him a chance at keeping Chauncey Billups, although the point guard would have to settle for a less significant payday than he originally anticipated.

6. Atlanta: Bryant would block this in a second, but if he really wants out, L.A. could ask for Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams and the No. 3 pick and see if the Hawks bite. Odds are good they wouldn't, although it would no doubt revive basketball in what has become a dormant market.

7. Toronto: This would be extremely far-fetched, because the Raptors are really enamored with their core, but at least you know Bryant would be able to communicate with Italian star Andrea Bargnani. Chris Bosh going to L.A. would be essential in making a deal work, and you know that's not happening.

8. Charlotte: Kobe working for Michael Jordan? The Bobcats have the financial flexibility, but lack the necessary pieces to swing a move.

_____________________________________________________________

This subject really might end up being the biggest talk of the nba this offseason, even if Garnett is traded. Kobe will only accept going to a contender, so Bulls are a real option. Reckon Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Chris Duhon, Andres Nocioni are enough talentwise, and maybe a big contract can be sent as well to make the salaries work. The Lakers could still make a very good team, if they use Kobe to get the proper talent that is
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 6:08 am
I can see just two possible destinations: New York and Chicago. I don't think he'll go to any other team (or those teams don't have enough to trade for him).
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 6:14 am
Knicks are an option but wonder if Kobe thinks they will be a contender even with him. New York is the place every star seems to want to play in but if Marbury, Frye, Lee and fillers are traded for Kobe, there just won't be enough left to contend, even in the East. Curry and Bryant is not much better than Bynum and Bryant (potentially at least)
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:04 am
Yeah, I said NY because:

1.- It's NYC we're talking about.
2.- They have the assets to present a good offer to the Lakers. Not up to Kobe's value... but probably better than any other.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:34 pm
Due to his contract, if Kobe wants to land in the windy city Chicago will most likely have to include Big Ben in the deal. Unfortunately, Chicago doesn't want to part ties with him because they'd be without a center.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:05 pm
Lakers are in a tough position and likely will be better going for a team with a high draft pick in this draft. Some teams are likely interested in Kobe but many GMs realise that Kobe is a bad influence right now and also that the Lakers are the ones in the vulnerable position. The Lakers are better off looking for a trade like to the Bobcats for a resigned GWallace (at a high price hopefully to make the salaries work better), the 5th pick, Brevin Knight or Felton (not sure they'd give up Felton), future 1st rounder or two and filler (maybe in a three team trade since Bobcats have no big contracts)
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:19 pm
I can definately see Kobe going to the Bulls. MJ is his friggin idol.

... but that's why I have an outside hunch that Charlotte may aquire him in a sign-and-trade. They have the cap room, a franchise inside player (that Kobe needs), a scorer he can tutor and make better (Morrison), and a capable point guard (Felton). And I think they can JUST pay the bill, too. The recently resigned Gerald Wallace, Brevin Knight, Primov Brezec, and a boatload of cash & picks (including Charlotte's lottery pick this year) should do the trick. LA's lineup becomes:

PG - Knight
SG - Farmar
SF - Wallace
PF - Odom
C - Bynum

Seems like a far more coheisive unit. Plus it features a ton of great passers (Knight, Wallace, Odom, Farmar). I could see the chemistry here being terrific.

Granted, this is an outside hunch (meaning I think the odds are 100-to-1, but still). IF this situation occurs, its likely that LA would demand Okafor be included in the deal... and Charlotte may bawk at that. Gerald Wallace and Emekar Okafor aren't even close to Kobe's value, but they'll be amazing future players.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:24 pm
MJ would establish himself as a horrible GM (more so) if he traded a resigned GWallace and Okafor for Kobe. That would ruin the future of the Bobcats and be a complete move in the opposite direction to the good growth they have been doing
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:45 am
32 wrote:I can definately see Kobe going to the Bulls. MJ is his friggin idol.

... but that's why I have an outside hunch that Charlotte may aquire him


I don't. MJ wouldn't be enough to make him go there. Keep in mind Kobe has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he has to agree on the team that's going to trade for him. He'll go to a big time market and a team in which he'll have a chance to win. That team has to fill both needs.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 12:00 pm
TMC wrote:
32 wrote:I can definately see Kobe going to the Bulls. MJ is his friggin idol.

... but that's why I have an outside hunch that Charlotte may aquire him


I don't. MJ wouldn't be enough to make him go there. Keep in mind Kobe has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he has to agree on the team that's going to trade for him. He'll go to a big time market and a team in which he'll have a chance to win. That team has to fill both needs.

You think Kobe would veto a trade to Charlotte? Even if the Bobcats were able to surround him with Okafor, Morrison, and Felton? Really?

Dan Patrick wrote:DP: So you don't care where you go? The Lakers could make a deal and send you to Atlanta?

KB: Oh, at this point, man, I told you, I'll play anywhere. I just want to play basketball. I want to play basketball and not worry about anything else, not worry about being a scapegoat for anything. I just want to play.


The Bobcats are run by Kobe's idol (Jordan), they have the coveted inside player that Kobe's been dying for (Okafor), their potential is virtually limitless... all they're missing is a big-time scorer. They hoped that Morrison would be that guy, but I doubt he'll expand into anything larger than Wally Z (if that). Bringing in Kobe gives Charlotte the following lineup:

PG - Raymond Felton
SG - Kobe Bryant
SF - Adam Morrison
PF - Sean May
C - Emeka Okafor

Think about it. Its a perfect lineup for Kobe. Both of your big men are capable of over 8 boards a night (plus, they seal up the lane on defense). Okafor can draw a double team... and so can Bryant, so all of a sudden, Morrison's shots start dropping because he's wide open. And, all the while, Raymond Felton has a lot less pressure to run the team, so I'm sure his scoring ability will emerge (along with his underrated defense).

The bench is a little thin... but don't think Jordan won't address that in free agency, should the Bobcats aquire Kobe. I know its a long shot for sure, but I don't think Kobe would be opposed to it.

Remember: Kobe is just as good of a player as LeBron James... and he'll have a better supporting cast (including Emeka Okafor as his sidekick). If LeBron could take the handicapped Cav's to the NBA Finals, why can't Kobe deliver the Bobcats the ECF? It doesn't sound that far fetched to me.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 12:23 pm
32 wrote:You think Kobe would veto a trade to Charlotte? Even if the Bobcats were able to surround him with Okafor, Morrison, and Felton? Really?


Yep. That market ain't big enough for his ego...

I think he'd only go to Miami, Chicago, NY or Philly in the east, maybe Boston or Atlanta, as both teams are bad, but are located in big markets. He'll look for a chance to win in a market with enough exposure. That rules out Charlotte or Orlando, for example.

The Lakers won't trade him inside the conference, so yeah, those are his options. And a few of those teams (like Boston or Miami) don't have enough assets to trade for him.

It's just a personal opinion, tho...
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 12:47 pm
I don't think the market matters. Sacramento, Charlotte, and Portland may not have the biggest markets, but they're excellent basketball cities and, really, thats all that should matter to Kobe Bryant.

I understand a larger-than-life, charismatic guy like Shaquille O'Neal needing to land on a bigger stage (like NY or LA), but I don't think the same goes for Kobe. When its all said and done, Kobe Bryant is a basketball player, moreso than a personality.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 6:37 pm
Kobe is all about attention so he'll likely end up in New York where he'll start trouble withing 2 years if that team doesn't compete for a championship
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:36 am
32 wrote:I understand a larger-than-life, charismatic guy like Shaquille O'Neal needing to land on a bigger stage (like NY or LA), but I don't think the same goes for Kobe. When its all said and done, Kobe Bryant is a basketball player, moreso than a personality.


I do believe Kobe considers himself as that larger-than-life character. That's the problem. It's not what we think of him, it's what he thinks of himself.

Also, I don't think the Lakers would consider any trade with Charlotte if Okafor ain't in the trade (Okafor & Gerald Wallace would work for LA, but I can't see more trades that do). And Kobe would veto that trade for sure, as he would be trapped in a similar situation in Charlotte than the one he's right now in LA.

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