Kobe Creates Stir
I am going to vomit if I hear one more fan call New York talk radio with a proposed Kobe Bryant to the Knicks trade. A few nights ago I heard no short of ten proposals in less than two hours. Memo to New York: The Knicks have no players the Lakers want. David Lee and Ronaldo Balkman are nice young players with good upside, particularly Lee, but first of all their contracts do not come near matching up with Kobe, and from the Lakers perspective, is David Lee a player you can rebuild around? Answer that for yourselves.
Mitch Kupchak is already notorious for breaking up the dynasty and trading Shaq. Critics say Kupchak got taken by the Heat in the O'Neal exchange, but the Lakers did acquire Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant, a little better than a bag of balls. Butler and Odom were young talented scorers, something absent on the Knicks.
LA, and the rest of the NBA, wants nothing to do with Steve Francis or Stephon Marbury given their age, performance, and current contracts. Jamal Crawford is a nice player,and helps get the salaries closer to matching up. He is a nice supplement in the trade, the Lakers still need a star in return. Nate Robinson appears to be a ticking time bomb of off-the-court headaches. Jared Jeffries is another overpaid, underperforming role player, and Quentin Richardson is hurt. Clearly the Knicks need Kupchak to get hit over the head with a mallet before agreeing to take any Knick players.
Then there is Eddy Curry. I have read a few noted NBA analysts say Curry is the only player the Knicks would not trade. Did Curry all of sudden learn how to rebound and play defense? Curry should not be the lynchpin that prevents a Kobe trade, at least from the Knicks perspective. While Curry is proving he can score, the Lakers have Andrew Bynum ready to the man the middle for future. Curry still has lingering health risks surrounding that $17 million contract. If anything Curry is helping prevent the Knicks from improving, or making trades, since they gave Chicago their draft to get him.
We can argue the merits of trading Kobe Bryant until the cows come home. Will LA be better positioned to contend if they trade him, will another team hold on to enough value to field a contender around Kobe? Its tough to envision the Lakers improving without Bryant, unless they acquire equal talent, like say, Jermaine O'Neal or Kevin Garnett, however unlikely. On the other side, go get Kobe if you can. He is still the best pure scorer in the game, has a well-rounded game, and has proven he can win with a team around him. Plus, after a few years of losing, I think he will come with a renewed tenacity and less interest in being "The Man".
Are the Lakers dumb enough to trade Bryant to Pheonix?