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View Full Version : If Kobe goes, where will he go?


DNNF
11-04-2003, 04:06 PM
By Sean Deveney - SportingNews.com


By the end of last week, the twister that had swirled through Laker Land had petered out. Storms no longer were rumbling, and the gray skies had cleared. Things were, by Lakers standards at least, back to normal. Kobe Bryant was doling out harmless cliches again, Shaquille O'Neal was not saying much of anything and Phil Jackson was the only one making observations on the big-picture aspects of life and basketball. Once again, the Lakers were just another team, and a darned good one at that.

Make no mistake, though, there's a problem. The Lakers are doing their best to dodge it, as they have for the seven years Bryant and O'Neal have been teammates. But O'Neal and Bryant unleashed a sudden and emphatic stream of accusations and insults through the media last week, with some real hum-dingers in there-an invitation from O'Neal for Bryant to walk out of his contract next summer and a tirade from Bryant in which he called O'Neal, among other things, "fat." The ugliness revealed that no matter how many patches they have used in the past, the hole in the Bryant-O'Neal relationship just won't be mended.

This certainly has caught the attention of front-office denizens everywhere. Bryant has a player option in his contract and said he would use it to play elsewhere. He later backed off that statement, but most around the NBA still believe there is a chance Bryant will be in a different uniform next season. And every general manager, team president and basketball operations intern has spent at least a few minutes wondering if maybe, just maybe, it could be their team's uniform Bryant wears.





So, mark it down: The NBA trade deadline is February 19 at 3 p.m. ET. With O'Neal, Gary Payton and Karl Malone in the fold, the Lakers could deal Bryant, bring in more role players and still be a championship contender. Should they trade Bryant-and the chances are low-the Lakers would not get full value because the team is a motivated seller and because Bryant has a rape charge hanging over him. But the best thing for all involved is a change of scenery. The big question is where Bryant would land, and whether he would want to stay there as a free agent.

Dallas. From a trading standpoint, the Mavericks make sense. Dallas could offer Michael Finley and Steve Nash for Bryant and Derek Fisher. The Mavericks are creative when it comes to transactions, and team owner Mark Cuban is willing to pull the trigger on big deals. None would be bigger than landing Bryant. The distaste Cuban often has expressed for the Lakers, though, is mutual, and these would not be the happiest of dance partners. If the Lakers deal Bryant, it probably would be to an Eastern Conference team.

New York. Sending Bryant to the Knicks not only would give him a team that's built around him, it would give him the world's biggest stage. The Knicks would be a playoff lock in the East with Bryant in blue and orange. A deal for Kurt Thomas and Allan Houston (with the Lakers throwing in Kareem Rush and Devean George) would give the Lakers exactly what they would need: a long-range scorer and a hard-nosed backup big man.

Chicago. Bryant always has tried to walk in the footsteps of Michael Jordan. Why not take his locker? Chicago is a huge sports market itching for a superstar on the level of Jordan and Walter Payton. The Bulls have the pieces to give up-how about Scottie Pippen, Tyson Chandler and Marcus Fizer? Though it's tough to part with Chandler, the chance of landing Bryant is worth it and, as he would for the Knicks, Bryant surely would punch the Bulls' ticket to the playoffs.

Memphis. Bryant considers former Lakers executive Jerry West a mentor, and if West still were around in L.A., Bryant's feud with O'Neal probably would not have gotten so heated. Now that West is in charge of the Grizzlies, might Bryant join him? Rumors that Memphis will clear out salary-cap room next summer to make a maximum pitch for Bryant have little basis in reality-the Grizzlies have drafted, signed and traded for players whose salaries ensure the team will be over the cap next summer. Memphis probably is not the stage Bryant is looking for, and the Grizzlies have little of value to offer in return, anyway (Lorenzen Wright, Pau Gasol and Shane Battier?).

Detroit. Would the Pistons be willing to part with Ben Wallace and Richard Hamilton to get Bryant? If so, they could be a good match for the Lakers, and Detroit has enough big bodies in reserve to maintain a decent front line. (A deal for Corliss Williamson, Tayshaun Prince and Elden Campbell probably would look better from the Pistons' perspective.) With Bryant, Detroit immediately would be the best team in the East, and perhaps one that could keep pace with the title contenders in the West.

Boston. A straight swap of Paul Pierce for Bryant would give the Lakers a star-caliber wing man and a hometown product, to boot. Pierce is not Bryant, and he would be forced to accept a reduced role, but he would benefit from not taking the pounding he subjects himself to in Boston. For the Celtics, Bryant would be a smoother version of Pierce-a better shooter and passer.

madape
11-04-2003, 04:13 PM
Prison?

DNNF
11-04-2003, 04:28 PM
Originally posted by: madape
Prison?

haha, that should be the 1st choice in this article.

dallas_esq
11-04-2003, 04:32 PM
Bankruptcy Court.

dirt_dobber
11-04-2003, 04:51 PM
I maintain that his contract status is why is
wife hasn't dumped him. If she holds on until
he signs a +100mil contract next year, she could
get a big chunk of that. She may want him to sign
it while in California, she will get more there!

But to answear the question.... maybe the 76'ers

.

bogey
11-04-2003, 05:20 PM
Originally posted by: dirt_dobber
I maintain that his contract status is why is
wife hasn't dumped him. If she holds on until
he signs a +100mil contract next year, she could
get a big chunk of that. She may want him to sign
it while in California, she will get more there!

But to answear the question.... maybe the 76'ers

.

The Sixers thing is off base, but you were dead on the first part. Can't blame her either. I hope she takes kobe to the cleaners.


I like the prison answer. If it isn't prison, it will be LA. That should be his mantra.

mavsfan4life
11-04-2003, 07:12 PM
Dallas, he wants more rings!

LRB
11-04-2003, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by: bogey

Originally posted by: dirt_dobber
I maintain that his contract status is why is
wife hasn't dumped him. If she holds on until
he signs a +100mil contract next year, she could
get a big chunk of that. She may want him to sign
it while in California, she will get more there!

But to answear the question.... maybe the 76'ers

.

The Sixers thing is off base, but you were dead on the first part. Can't blame her either. I hope she takes kobe to the cleaners.


I like the prison answer. If it isn't prison, it will be LA. That should be his mantra.

Prison, LA, or toliet.