Sonny Vaccaro: 2009 Laker champs=Kobe Leaving the Lakers?

Sonny Vaccaro: 2009 Laker champs=Kobe Leaving the Lakers?

Postby Bones on Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:55 am

DILBECK: Kobe could be a trail blazer -- of the international kind -- and could say goodbye to L.A.
By Steve Dilbeck, Columnist
Article Last Updated: 09/18/2008 11:05:56 PM PDT

Kobe Bryant can opt out of his contract at the end of the season and... (AP

The last year of Kobe Bryant as a Laker.

Don't think it will happen? Maybe not, probably not.

But it absolutely could.

In 10 days the Lakers will gather at their training facility for their annual media day. Kobe's done these camp- opening inter- views and photo shoots now for 12 years. Professionally never been anything but a Laker.

Only next year he could be somewhere else. Like in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben or that other Colosseum.

Kobe can opt out of his contract at the end of the season. Can become a complete free agent. Place bets he will.

He already indicated at the Beijing Olympics, he would entertain offers from European teams.

Preposterous? Outrageous? Kobe would never leave the greatest basketball league on the planet? Would never walk away from his beloved Lakers?

Really? Haven't you been paying attention?

He almost left once to be a Clipper. Tried to force the Lakers to trade him - when was that again? Oh, yeah - last summer.

Kobe is a perfect candidate to flee the NBA for Europe. Both in international stature and personal makeup. Both because of his European background and the economic sense.

"I think there is a great possibility, if for no other reason than he will make his value worth much more than anyone can imagine," said Sonny Vaccaro, the basketball guru. "For the first time, they'll actually be in competition."

Vaccaro pushed this possibility Wednesday as a guest on the Loose Cannons show on 570-AM. Mostly to deaf ears. Better that they perk up. Better than people understand this is a real possibility.

Which is not the same thing as saying it will happen, but if a Euro team is truly willing to spend $50 million per to sign a Kobe or LeBron James, they at least figure to listen.

And Kobe has that whole other singular player thing going for him. He goes his own way. Unafraid to rattle foundations.

Has almost unfathomable self-confidence in anything he does.

Vaccaro has known Kobe most of his life. Knew his parents, had Kobe in his national basketball camp. Understands his unique makeup.

"Kobe has his own mind," Vaccaro said. "He's bright. He could have gone to MIT and been successful. I watched his formative years. Even when he left adidas, he did it because it made good business sense. He made decisions. He's never been afraid.

"Kobe is his own man. One of the most unique people I've met in my 69 years."

Look at it this way, the first superstar who leaves the NBA for Europe will be a trailblazer. He will help legitimize international basketball. Will do something never done before.

Now who do you know that might appeal to?

Kobe was probably the most popular athlete at the Olympics. He is already an international icon. Spent eight years growing up in Italy. And has exactly the right kind of superego and temperament to buck the norm and be attracted to a new adventure, one never taken by Michael Jordan or anyone else.

"Are you kidding me?" Vaccaro said. "That cements everything.

"Kobe has a chance to add to his legend."

It isn't like he has a lot left to accomplish here. He's already won three NBA titles. Won a gold medal.

Does it sound so wild a new challenge would appeal to him?

The odd linchpin in this is the coming Lakers season.

Should the Lakers win the title, does he figure he's proved he could capture an NBA championship without Shaquille O'Neal and be more willing to move on or feel more attached to a young nucleus that could have more titles ahead?

Should the Lakers fail to win the title, does he come back more determined to try again or get upset and be more willing to exit?

"He wins the coin flip, both heads and tails," Vaccaro said. "If they win it, he's done everything and he owes nobody. If they don't win it, he's pissed off and says `I'm not going to stay here and not win another championship without Shaq. I'm gone.'

"I think Kobe has positioned himself perfectly."

All this presumes there are European owners actually deep enough to offer $50million a year.

That's near the two-year total he would be walking away from on his Laker contract should he opt out.

Vaccaro, who helped send former Dominquez prep star Brandon Jennings to Italy this fall, said most Americans are ignorant of the wealth of European ownership.

"Some of the owners in Europe have more money than the majority of owners in the NBA," he said. "It's a small number, but it's a fact. They're billionaires.

"The trouble with America is we think they're penny-ante. They're not. These individuals are very wealthy. They can do this."

As Vaccaro points out, it's in their best interest to try, if only for the publicity it generated.

And in Kobe's best financial interest to listen.

"A trailblazer? My, god, this is Kobe Bryant. It's not Brandon Jennings. It's not Josh Childress," Vaccaro said.

"This is Kobe Bryant. He's been acclaimed the greatest living player. His testament to basketball has been written. No one can deny him his greatness.

"I totally believe he will take it to the wall."

The Lakers, or any other team, are restricted as to how much they can offer. Maybe some side deal is arranged for team ownership, a la Magic Johnson and Jordan.

But they best understand there is now a new player in town. If not, this could be Kobe's last year in this one.

LINK

I know the automatic response would be bullcrap Sonny Vaccaro!!! But do you agree to some part that if Kobe was to win a title minus Shaq that he might seek international waters for new challenges? :mad1: :disagree:
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Postby LakerMo on Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:09 am

More useless speculation.

If Lakers win the title, you can bet your house that Kobe will be here to stay for the long run. Why the hell would he give up a chance at a Dynasty for the next 3-5 years right after a championship victory? Kobe won't get to the top of the world after working SO hard to get there and surrender it just like that within a blink of an eye.
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Postby therealdeal on Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:55 am

I'm sure it has its attractive aspects to Kobe, but along the same lines of thought:
the NBA is the most challenging league in the world, the greatest stage. As a competitor, i think Kobe will understand that his best challenges will be in the NBA and he'll stay. Money isn't an issue for him, obviously one must consider an amount like 50 million (which has very little chance of being an actual number), but Kobe, like he said on JRIB, its a matter of pride. Why leave to Europe if you have the opportunity to pile up championships?

I don't see it happening
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Postby crucifixion on Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:51 am

LakerMo wrote:More useless speculation.

If Lakers win the title, you can bet your house that Kobe will be here to stay for the long run. Why the hell would he give up a chance at a Dynasty for the next 3-5 years right after a championship victory? Kobe won't get to the top of the world after working SO hard to get there and surrender it just like that within a blink of an eye.


We must have different interpertations of that article.

If we win the championship, I agree he would leave.

You say
Kobe won't get to the top of the world after working SO hard to get there
but in reality, he's NOT at the top of the world. Just the top of the NBA. Top of the world is winning in America AND the rest of the world.

America is not the world. If he wins a ring in the NBA, then wins a European League Championship and MVP, what more does he need to cement himself as the greatest basketball player EVER?

NBA All Star
NBA All Star MVP
NBA Season MVP
NBA Champion (with and without Shaq)
Olympic Gold Medal
NBA Finals MVP (this year)
Eurochampion (next year)
Eurochampion MVP (next year)

I'm not familiar with the leagues out there, but imagine him not just being Euroleague champion but another champion out there as well if he switched teams.

He'd be a global champion, something that Jordan and others can't say.
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Postby dvdrdiscs on Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:07 am

Kobe is too smart to not know he will eventually be bored playing in the Euroleage against non-competitions. He will smoke EVERYONE and being the competitor that he is, there's no way he would allow himself to be in that situation; especially not when you have great competitions over here in Lebron, Wade, etc.

Plus him publicly coming out and saying the gold medeal means more to him than a ring shows his commitment to this country and his respect for U.S. basketball.

I think that whole $50 million dealio was just totally blown out of proportion and absolutely has no hidden agenda whatsoever.
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Postby LakerMo on Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:07 am

crucifixion wrote:
LakerMo wrote:More useless speculation.

If Lakers win the title, you can bet your house that Kobe will be here to stay for the long run. Why the hell would he give up a chance at a Dynasty for the next 3-5 years right after a championship victory? Kobe won't get to the top of the world after working SO hard to get there and surrender it just like that within a blink of an eye.


We must have different interpertations of that article.

If we win the championship, I agree he would leave.



Why? Because Kobe's been crying like a baby for so long about wanting to have a championship calibre team and .. FINALLY he's gotten a potential dynasty and he's just going to say "Oh, see you later everyone?" 1 year into the dynasty? No way.

crucifixion wrote:
LakerMo wrote:rMo"]Kobe won't get to the top of the world after working SO hard to get there
but in reality, he's NOT at the top of the world. Just the top of the NBA. Top of the world is winning in America AND the rest of the world.

America is not the world. If he wins a ring in the NBA, then wins a European League Championship and MVP, what more does he need to cement himself as the greatest basketball player EVER?

NBA All Star
NBA All Star MVP
NBA Season MVP
NBA Champion (with and without Shaq)
Olympic Gold Medal
NBA Finals MVP (this year)
Eurochampion (next year)
Eurochampion MVP (next year)

I'm not familiar with the leagues out there, but imagine him not just being Euroleague champion but another champion out there as well if he switched teams.

He'd be a global champion, something that Jordan and others can't say.


It's clear and been stated many times that if Kobe was ever to consider to go over there, it would be because the money thrown at him or LeBron would be a ludacris amount, of say 40 mil per season. You would be silly as an business man, to not 'have a look at it' as kobe would say. But does that mean he's going to leave for even that substantial amount? No, it just means that like any smart man would do he would weigh out and assess his options.

There's enough Kobe haters across the world to suggest he is so far behind MJ in terms of his legacy once he retires. Here's his chance to potentially go 1 better than MJ in rings, and at the same time pick up more individual accolades such as MVPS, final MVPS, All-NBA first teams, DPOY etc to go along with all that. As far as I'm concerned, being on top of the world doesn't mean to be suceeding elsewhere in the world in a lesser competition, it means to be the premium player in the best basketball competition in the world, and dominating it with championships and individual awards. NBA is the benchmark. Sorry, but going to Europe and winning the championship there and Euro MVP isn't going to cut it for his legacy. Nobody cares about that, it will be watered down.

There's a reason why Euroleague players make a name for themselves and then have an ambition and dream to one day compete in the NBA, and why the NBA "has-beens" use the Euroleague as a retirement home.

Kobe's in a dream situation right now. The team surrounding him could produce something really special in the next decade. There is no way he messes this oppurtunity with a supporting cast as good as the one he has now.
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Postby Juronimo on Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:20 am

2003 opt out
2007 trade me

I wouldn't put it past him to bolt to Europe.
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Postby Weezy on Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:34 am

Sorry, still not buying it. A guy who is trying to become the best player of all time is not going to go play in Europe, he wants to win as many NBA rings as possible.
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Postby Showtime is Magic on Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:47 am

Weezy wrote:Sorry, still not buying it. A guy who is trying to become the best player of all time is not going to go play in Europe, he wants to win as many NBA rings as possible.

Kobe is the KING of drama. I wouldnt be surprised if he went to Europe. But i certainly hope not :scurred:. I hope he comes to his senses and decides that passing Jordan and others is more important. With this core, the Lakers could win 3 or 4 solid championships.
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Postby jlkr on Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:43 pm

Have to remember Kobe was one of the very very few players who voted against the CBA in 1999. This is the CBA that settled the strike that year. It put a limit on what a max contract could be, but allowed Shaq, KG and Allan Houston to keep their contracts and extend them under the old rules. Kobe saw immediately that he would never make Shaq's kind of money with that deal and he voted against it.

So I think he tests the waters and if one of those billionaire owners throws enough money at him, he takes it seriously.
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Postby methodnredd on Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:47 pm

Honestly, anybody who thinks or even suggests that Kobe might leave the NBA after potentially winning a ring this year is completely stupid. Yeah, I have Pau and Bynum on my team I'm gonna go to Europe.....

Later on down the line, I wouldn't be surprised if he left. But not anytime soon.
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Postby theinsanity on Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:10 pm

Really don't think it's up to Kobe. He'll likely opt out this summer and it'll be up to the European teams to come up with the money necessary to pull him away. If he gets offered, 40, 50 million, he's going to take it, regardless of whether he wins a championship or not. I don't think they will but it's a smart move for Kobe and co to hint at it and use this for leverage in upcoming negotiations.
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Postby ReaListik on Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:46 pm

I think that if Kobe wants to compete against the best in the world he needs to stay in the NBA and keep doing what he's doing. If the Lakers win the title this year I think that given the age of the players that have been placed around him, it would only make sense to stay in LA to compete for a chance at a 4-peat or even 5 more titles, and possible Finals MVP awards.

^---That is the mentality that Jordan would have if in the same position. Kobe has proven that he's a little more open to what seems like impossibilities to a lot of people. Kobe has shown that he wants to win, thus the massive demands in 2007 after the loss to Phoenix. I think that the Lakers FO has done everything they can possibly do to intelligently design a solid championship-caliber team around Kobe based on age and skill-sets. To me, I think that if the Lakers win the title and Kobe walks away from that after everything that he's gone through with the organization, especially what Mitch has gone through and done to match his demands, I believe that would be very selfish on Kobe's part. Yes, he could get 50 million a year, but how much money does one person really need? I mean, you get 15-20 million a year and if you handle your money the intelligent way you're going to be doing damn good for the rest of your life, not to mention your other family members after you've passed on.

The fan side of me says that Kobe stays, but the reality side of me says he's gone if the money's there, with LeBron soon to follow.
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Postby lakaboy42 on Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:52 pm

So when he finally gets back to the top of the mountain that he's spent 6 years climbing, he's gonna leave for more money?
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Postby Coville on Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:01 pm

Kobe's threat of going overseas is only to push the NBA to give him (and subsequently) other players more money.

Going overseas gives the players another form of leverage in the CBA, outside of just not playing (and not earning a paycheck) there really is not much a player (or the players union) can do to push to get more.

Now the threat of going overseas allows players another option, to basically sit out, but go enjoy 2 years in Europe collecting 50 million tax free.

Of course, if it comes down to being serious, you know the NBA will open things up pretty quickly.

Kobe is just playing the game, so is Lebron. Make as much money as possible, this is how they both do it.
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Postby revgen on Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:16 pm

Kobe has said in recent interviews that the likelihood of him going to Europe isn't very high. He just said that if he was offered a high sum of money, it's just something that he would seriously think about. He wouldn't just say "No thanks, I'm not interested", and just walk away.
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Postby Heir on Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:18 pm

dvdrdiscs wrote:Kobe is too smart to not know he will eventually be bored playing in the Euroleage against non-competitions. He will smoke EVERYONE and being the competitor that he is, there's no way he would allow himself to be in that situation; especially not when you have great competitions over here in Lebron, Wade, etc.

Plus him publicly coming out and saying the gold medeal means more to him than a ring shows his commitment to this country and his respect for U.S. basketball.

I think that whole $50 million dealio was just totally blown out of proportion and absolutely has no hidden agenda whatsoever.

If he's being paid 50 mil a year, I'm sure he'll find a way to get over it.
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Postby jlkr on Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:42 pm

I think that a lot of the talk is leverage ahead of the 2011 CBA negotiations. It's clear that at least Kobe and Lebron (and other superstars) want to do away with limits on max contracts or at least raise them considerably higher. If the NBA actually loses a superstar before 2011, the owners might have to go along with that in order to keep the league competitive salary-wise. Kobe could be first as his contract expires next year and Lebron's doesn't expire until the following year. The first mover probably gets the most money. So Kobe lets it be known he'll at least listen to serious offers.
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Postby lakefansac on Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:20 pm

Kobe's Wallet vs Kobe's Ego

Kobe can get a 50 million dollar contract

vs

Kobe wants to add to his legacy

Prove that he can take a team and win a championship without Shaq

Prove that he is better or equal to Michael Jordan


I think Kobe's ego wins out. His desire to be considered GOAT will lead him to stay in LA and try win as much championships as he can in order to be considered GOAT.
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Postby gdchild on Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:21 pm

Bullcrap Sonny Vaccaro. :bang:
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Postby Kobe Bryant 8 on Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:28 pm

Kobe values the dollar over anything. That much I'm sure of.

This whole fad with NBA players saying they would leave is just a way for them to loosen the cap and allow stars to get more money in this league.
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Postby superbad on Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:35 pm

its funny how everyone thinks KB still cares about SHAQ and overpassing his ring count.

kobe will win a ring because he want to and for himself, not to prove anything to anybody because i think he's proven enough already, they just dont want to admit it.

GO KOBE!!!!
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Postby theinsanity on Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:35 pm

ReaListik wrote:I think that if Kobe wants to compete against the best in the world he needs to stay in the NBA and keep doing what he's doing. If the Lakers win the title this year I think that given the age of the players that have been placed around him, it would only make sense to stay in LA to compete for a chance at a 4-peat or even 5 more titles, and possible Finals MVP awards.

^---That is the mentality that Jordan would have if in the same position.


You seem to be forgetting that Jordan retired in his prime, coming off 3 straight championships to play minor league baseball. If Europe gave Jordan 50 million reasons to leave the NBA, he'd take it, just like Kobe or anyone else would.
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Postby Propulsion on Sat Sep 20, 2008 12:59 am

For 50 mil/year, he'd be crazy not to

Either way, the NBA will be forced to make some changes salary cap wise
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Postby L4L on Sat Sep 20, 2008 12:40 pm

theinsanity wrote:You seem to be forgetting that Jordan retired in his prime, coming off 3 straight championships to play minor league baseball.


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