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KB24 TRADE: Why the hype??...PROBUđENI MRAVI: TomiŠ 20P, VladoviŠ 27P+11A vs Geoplin

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Don't hold your breath waiting for a Kobe trade

Now would probably be a good time for all of us to take a nice, big, deep breath. I know, I know ... the thought of you right-minded readers looking to a member of the media for a little sanity is a bit like Dr. Phil taking lifestyle tips from Britney Spears. But bear with me, because although, in many corners of the NBA universe, it seems that we are on the brink of the apocalypse in Kobeville/Lakerland, it's far too soon to say Bryant is a goner.

A source with the Bulls says conversations about Kobe Bryant are non-existent. Same for the Warriors. A league source says there's nothing cooking with the Suns. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told the Dallas Morning News that, of course he'd explore a trade for Bryant, but that nothing has come up yet. Hard to imagine any other teams out there with the juice to acquire Bryant, who has a no-trade clause.

The Lakers are sure to get offers aplenty for Bryant, but nothing appears imminent. So why the hype? Simply because Lakers owner Jerry Buss told reporters last week that he would be open to trading Bryant last week?

Let's go back and look at what Buss said ...

... about considering trades for Bryant: "At any time, I think you have to do that with anybody. It's just part of the game, to listen to somebody who has a dissatisfied player that you think is going to fit. You can't keep too many loyalties. You've got to look at it as a business. He looks at it the same way I look at it."

... about Bryant's desire to be traded: "I wish he felt differently. And if we win, I think he will feel differently. So we'll just wait and see if we can win."

... about his discussion with Bryant: "He was very, very respectful. I told him when I walked in that I was going to try and talk him out of it. And he said, 'I'll listen carefully.' And he did. He listened very carefully for 30-45 minutes. I tried to explain to him how much the city of Los Angeles loved him and to leave 10 million sweethearts for unknown territory might not be the right thing to do. But when I was finished, he said he basically felt the same way. I said, 'OK. Well, with that, I'll proceed to see what's available.' But like I said, anybody who had talent, just go down the top 15 stars in the league, they won't trade. That's it."

Certainly, that was significantly different from Buss's comments on Bryant in the past, when he called Bryant his "son." And it's different from what Lakers officials have been saying all summer, which is that there's no way Bryant would be traded.

NBA PRESEASON 16-10-07: Sacramento Kings vs Dallas Mavericks

But there's nothing in Buss's statements that says the team is actively looking to move Bryant, no invitation for other teams to pile on the offers. There's nothing in his statements, really, all that inflammatory. He acknowledged that Bryant is not untouchable, but didn't Bryant leave him no choice on that count? When Bryant ripped Buss and the Lakers front office back in May, the team remained silent. Buss's comments should be seen, simply, as a delayed rebuttal to Kobe's verbal antagonism.

As such, the things Buss said were fairly mild compared to what Bryant said six months earlier. Bryant showed the Lakers little loyalty at that point, so Buss responded by saying, yes, you can't keep too many loyalties. That was a reasonable thing to say. It might have riled Bryant, or, as Bryant said, "caught me off guard a little," especially after Bryant made it clear he wanted to put all the trade talk aside. But, hey, it was Bryant who started all this, so Buss had the right to respond, even if his timing could have been better.

It is, of course, our job in the media to blow things out of proportion, and we're doing a splendid job of that with this story. Bryant has missed a few days of practice and he supposedly cleaned out his locker, though Bryant later said, no, he cleaned up his locker. Some preseason practice absences and poorly timed tidiness have now been contorted into an impending trade.


Look, if something happens with Bryant, it is going to take some time. I spoke with a prominent agent about how the team operates, and he described it as, "the toughest front office in the league." That's because the Lakers have more layers of decision-making than most teams.

"It's hard because you can talk to (general manager) Mitch Kupchak," the agent says. "But then you have Jerry Buss at the top, and he might be here or there. Then you have Jim Buss (Jerry's son and the vice president of player personnel), who is above Mitch, but below Jerry. And somewhere in there is Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant and the peanut vendor. It's hard to get anything done, and if it does get done, it is a slow process."

So don't sit on pins and needles waiting for a Bryant trade, because you'll probably come away with a sore derriere. My bet is on Bryant and Buss making amends before the season starts, and this story sitting on the back burner for a few months. No doubt, a deal for Bryant will be much-discussed in the coming year, and will heat up at the trading deadline if the Lakers are trudging along at or below .500. Until then, it's hard to foresee something going down.

NBA PRESEASON 16-10-07: Chicago Bulls vs Washington Wizards

In the meantime, let's continue with those deep breaths.

Sean Deveney
Sporting News

Post je objavljen 18.10.2007. u 13:00 sati.