Buss, Bryant, and a new beginning
Written on 10/12/2007
It’s tough to imagine any owner trading his best player and biggest money making asset, but to Jerry Buss, it might just come down to a business decision.
“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.”
But what has made Kobe dissatisfied, a lackluster supporting cast for the past three seasons, can easily be fixed with a move that is already on the table.
The Lakers need to take the risk and ship out Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum for Jermaine O’Neal and commit to winning with Kobe as fast as they can. If we don’t, we are going lose the best player in the game in the prime of his career. Make no mistake about it; his discontent with the organization is real, his words are true, and his desire to win burns with every breath he takes. It doesn’t help that Jerry Buss seems almost disinterested in this current team.
We shouldn’t be thinking about the future when we have the best foundation for success right now. Trading Bryant would be the biggest mistake this franchise has ever made. This isn’t Shaquille O’Neal demanding out on his last legs - this is the most dominant player in the league today. The best you can ever hope for by dealing away a talent is getting comparable talent in return, whether it be by trade or via FA. We are not, no matter how you slice it, going to get a better player than Kobe. The league is currently in a transition period where titles can be won. Why bank on Bynum and the rest of the youngsters 5-6 years down the road when Bosh, LeBron, Carmelo, Wade, and the rest of the budding superstars are in their prime?
What makes Bryant’s situation even more difficult to break down is the power he has in dictating his destination. I believe that there are only four teams in which Kobe would allow a trade to; Dallas, Chicago, New York, and Phoenix. It gives the Lakers very little options on what they get back for the disgruntled star.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban already stated he’d deal anyone not named Dirk. Chicago would hold onto Hinrich and Deng at all costs. New York has nothing that the Lakers would want. Phoenix has great talent and potentially cap space to give the Lakers, but would L.A. want to gift wrap a title for the team that has defeated them in the past two seasons?
There really isn’t any positive that would come from dealing Kobe. There might be positives, however, if we deal Odom and Bynum for Jermaine O’Neal. Who’s to say those two, combined with solid role players like Turiaf, Kwame, Walton, Fisher, Crittenton, Radmanovic, and Farmar couldn’t make a serious run at the title?
I mean at this point it can’t hurt… right?