Wednesday, May 30, 2007

say it ain't so.

So the hot topic today seems to center on Kobe Bryant demanding to be traded from the Lakers because he says that the team has not done enough to build the “contender” that they promised when he re-signed three years ago. He also wants the “insider” who blamed Kobe for Shaq’s trade to be released from the club.

Newsflash, Kobe: the entire world blames you for Shaq’s trade. No one is that upset, though: Shaq has played in only 99 games in the past three years and is due $60 million over the next three years. Perhaps you should take credit for it, because it was a brilliant move.
Kobe has to realize that his huge, league maximum salary prevents the Lakers from building a great team around him. Anyone that knows me that I’m a Laker through and through and that I bleed purple and gold; they should also know that this team needs to be restructured around Kobe.

I believe that Kobe’s call for a trade really is just a big game of chicken--he wants the club to flinch, and I believe that they will do so. Bynum and Odom have to go if the Lakers want any sort of marquee player to come in--and if the Timberwolves want Kwame’s expiring contract in order to make the deal for KG happen, I’m all for it.

I’m also a huge Kobe fan (and, probably, a Kobe apologist--though let me say this: people need to stop with the “Kobe is a rapist” crap. He was not found guilty, so stop saying he is. People then go on to say “but he did have sex with her”--yes, he did, and he admitted that right away), so it pains me to hear that Kobe wants out. I have been a Laker fan forever--but I would follow Kobe’s new team more more heavily than the Lakers if he joined the Bulls...or, the Wizards (there have been talks of having him traded for Gilbert Arenas). I came to really love the Bulls this past season, especially during their postseason run this year. I guess I wouldn’t mind if Kobe was traded for Ben Wallace, Tyrus Thomas, Luol Deng, Noc, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon, but, well, I don’t think the salaries match up or that Chicago would be willing to ship off half of their team (and 4/5 of their starters at that).

Where does Kobe expect to go? The only teams that can afford him are teams about equal to the Lakers (in the standings). The Rockets are a maybe--but I don’t think they’re that much better than the Lakers. Kobe could join the Mavs, but how good would they be if they had to give up Dirk and Jason Terry in order for that to happen? Same thing for the Suns (give up Amare and Shawn Marion).

Maybe, just maybe, the Lakers could convince Golden State to give up Baron Davis for Odom, Bynum, Brown and, perhaps, the Lakers’ first round pick this year. But Baron is that team--he’d probably be more tough to get than KG, though the Lakers do need a ballhandler (though the Lakers do need rebounders if they trade away those three, which makes KG a more safe buy). Kobe has said Baron would like to play with him in LA...we’ll see.

Ultimately, I hope Kobe does not get the trade he asks for, even if he says that he would rather “play on Pluto” than LA next year. Lately, I’ve been noticing that I’ve been growing up (jobs, flat tires, taxes) and I would hate to see my childhood love of the Lakers be extinguished because my favorite player moved to a team that I like watching just as much as I like watching the Lakers (the Bulls). Regardless, the Lakers are in for a very interesting off-season.
Honestly, though, can anyone see Kobe in anything other than Laker purple-and-gold?

the sports guy has a good blog up about possible trades--and I'm getting sorta excited seeing some of these players in LA.

from the sports guy's blog:
Well, lemme throw this at you: What if the Suns then swapped Stoudemire to Minnesota for KG, as I proposed in a May 14 column
? That would give them the following crunch-time lineup: Nash, Kobe, Bell, Diaw and KG.

man. that is a crazy team...maybe the best team ever?

but i still love Kobe. he is still the best player in the NBA, and I'll be overwhelmingly sad to see him put on another (non-purple) uni. i hope it doesn't happen, and, in fact, am horrified that it's even being talked about.


And how much of a revelation has Juan Pablo Angel been thus far? Clearly, he could still be playing in Europe. And how interesting is this talk of LA loaning out Becks to a European team after the MLS season is over? Becks could miss 4 of the last 18 games that LA has to play in the last eleven weeks of the season and could also miss the MLS Cup (if the Galaxy make it that far) because of England international duty (should he be called up). Will their $250 million investment really be paying off if he hardly plays for them?