Thursday, October 18, 2007

Kobe beef

Whether Kobe Bryant cleaned out his locker or merely cleaned his locker, it sounds like Kobe's days in L.A. are numbered. Kobe has criticized management for poor personnel decisions, which include:
  • Trading Shaquille O'Neal for two good players and a bad contract, failing to demand Dwyane Wade from Miami in return
  • Trading the best player they got Shaq for Kwame Brown
  • Passing in the draft on Josh Howard for Brian Cook
The Kobe situation is different than the Kobe situation that spurred the Shaq trade. Most notably: Kobe was a free agent when he orchestrated Shaq's exile from L.A., while Kobe is signed for two more years now. (Which reminds me - Kobe's fallback plan back then was signing with the Clippers. Does he honestly think he'd have a better supporting cast there? Donald Sterling would have been happy to surround him with Krispy Kream employees.) So what can Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers hope to get for the best player in the NBA? And where can we expect Kobe to end up?

I agree with Chad Ford's latest column pretty much across the board. He lists Chicago as the favorites, potentially giving up Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Joakim Noah, and expiring contracts. This would be a pretty strong package that would revamp their starting lineup, but it lacks a superstar. That's where his number two contender comes in. The Wizards could potentially offer Gilbert Arenas, 1st round pick Nick Young, Darius Songalia, and a future 1st round pick. It's a lot to give up on both sides, but both teams are terrified of their superstars opting out - Arenas next summer, Bryant the following summer. The Wizards would suddenly be a favorite in the East, maybe the favorite, only losing one starter. DeShawn Stevenson might have a chance to meet Lindsey Lohan through new backcourt mate Kobe. And the Lakers could be confident that they could resign Arenas. It sounds like it could happen.

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