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Sports Illustrated: NBA training camps open in less than a month, but there is still one burning question left in this offseason: What will Kobe do?Bryant still has not yet backed off his trade demand from the Lakers. During the recent FIBA Americas tournament (in which the 29-year-old star looked as lean and mean as ever, by the way), he artfully dodged all queries on the subject. While most assume he will show up in Hawaii with his L.A. teammates next month, nobody seems to know for certain.
It’s safe to say the Lakers’ big offseason moves (signing Derek Fisher and bringing back Luke Walton and Chris Mihm) haven’t radically altered Bryant’s opinion on the state of the roster. Meanwhile, the Kevin Garnett deal probably only made him feel more frustrated.
There is still a chance general manager Mitch Kupchak could pull off a trade that satisfies Bryant. Indiana’s Jermaine O’Neal, the player most often mentioned as a possible Lakers target, remains available. Could a deal for O’Neal, involving Lamar Odom and/or 19-year-old center Andrew Bynum, still happen? Don’t rule it out. As much as the Lakers might want to keep Bynum, he’s far from a sure thing. Kupchak has to do something to win now or he faces the prospect of a very disgruntled Bryant showing up at camp.