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I can’t stand it. I can’t stand the not knowing. If this year’s Lakers team doesn’t perform up to an elite level Kobe’s outta here. Heartbreaker!

Jerry Buss warned him he’d break all our hearts. Kobe doesn’t seem to care. Hey. That’s ok. That’s ok. I’ve gotten through the tough times before and I can again. Remember that beautiful blonde in Santa Cruz? She didn’t love me. And I survived. I’m still here. Listen, I can start envisioning new Kobe-less futures now. . . Josh Howard. Zach Randolph. Luol Deng. The Lakers, we’re a good lookin’ team, right?

We won’t be alone. We’ll rebound.

It’s just the. . . the not knowing. I can’t stand the not knowing. That’s why I’ve devised a specific, scientific methodology designed to answer the most pressing question before us. Can the current Lakers climb to elite status fast enough to satisfy Kobe?

The answer has more to do with our own self-image than you might think. The methodology? A thorough, investigative look at one of our team’s least investigated areas. . . Body type. Yes. Body type. Only an earnest self-evaluation of the Lakers players’ physicality will enable us to scry into our teams’ immediate and long term future.

So let’s take a closer look. . .

Kobe Bryant

Let’s start with Kobe himself. Twenty pounds lighter for the Olympics, he’s quick. With NBA power shifting to quick guards, Kobe has really helped himself, especially on the defensive end. He’s no longer looking so hobbly and gimpy either. Kobe’s never had quite the length or big hands of an Michael Jordan, but has compensated in other areas well enough to become the most sensational player in the game today, and clearly one of its all-time greats. He’s NBA middle aged, but has, quite possibly, turned back his clock three years based on his new condition alone.

Evaluation: In his prime.

Ronny Turiaf

OK. What’s with this guy? How much chest can one man have? Is it an implant? Turiaf may very well have stapled an extra chest onto his own. Looking firm and rooster-like, Turiaf has the potential to body up and make the Lakers a more physical team.

Odom hasn’t been bullying too many power forwards at a lean 130 pounds. But there is a catch here. I hate to be the one to say it, but how tall is Ronny Turiaf? No one seems to question his 6’10’’, but he doesn’t look 6’10’’ to me. Look at him sandwiched between Maurice Evans and Kwame Brown, laughing. I don’t see a one inch difference between Ronny and Kwame. Hey, Elton Brand is short. Some tough, inside players are short. I don’t question that. If chest inches counted vertically, we might be the only team with a counter to Yao Ming.

Sorry, Ronny. I’m just trying to keep it real here.

Evaluation: Room for growth, just maybe not to 6’10’’

Lamar Odom

Odom is lanky. He’s looooong, gets a lot of rebounds. How much will Lamar fill out in years to come? I’m betting not too much. Body wise, he feels thin for a power forward, unless you are trying to play small ball. Odom has more potential to physically dominate his competition at small forward. Remember last year’s discussion of the training Lamar had done on his body’s ‘core’? It made him stronger, more coordinated, and more centered as a player.

Evaluation: Getting more solid and less wiry.

Vladimir Radmanovic

Odom is lanky. Radmanovic is gangly. It doesn’t bother his outside shooting, but it hurts his defense and it must not help much in finding dates. Clearly, what this guy needs is to return briefly to his alien world for a training regimen composed of superior alien technology and blue food.

Evaluation: Only Astrological principles and Biorhythms can tell.

Brian Cook

Sadly lost his neck in ‘05. After Cook’s rookie season, the Lakers asked him to gain some muscle. That summer, his neck disappeared and has yet to return. Cook’s vertical consists of the pupils of his eyes moving up and down.

Evaluation: Please don’t pick up your player option for 2009.

Chris Mihm

He’s thin. He’s quick. He gets around. He’s not super strong for a center and gets bullied a bit, but he’s agile. That’s at least good enough at center to be a great backup. If Mihm would work hard on his jumper, he’s an intriguing possibility to play some time at the four as young Bynum comes into his own.

Evaluation: Athletic and still on the way up.

Kwame Brown

Muscle. Muscle. Muscle. I love watching Kwame guard Jermaine O’Neal, who looks like a dainty sliver next to the Lakers center. (Dwight Howard, on the other hand, remains awe inspiring) Kwame is quick, but rather earthbound. He’s physically on the mend. He’s in a contract year. He sometimes looks spaced out.

Evaluation: Rigorous Brain Training is needed. Just do it Kwame. Be…the ball. If he could get his head on straight, his not-so-great hands would be an afterthought.

Luke Walton

Slow, but very strong for a small forward. Looking even stronger this year, like some solid little gate that shuts tight in the lane. May have enough brains to donate a few to Kwame.

Evaluation: Already a veteran. Still on the way up. And how. Good things often seem to happen when a healthy Luke is around.

Derek Fisher

A bulldog. Bulldog body. Solid. Fisher’s small but ferocious, with power, heart and three point range.

Evaluation: For now, still at peak. Stay, Fish. Stay.

Javaris Crittenton

Who? Where? Oh, that human toothpick? Did you see Crittenton split those two Golden State defenders in Hawaii. Of course he did! The guy looks like Paper Mario. He could probably split the atom.

If J. Critt was being modeled as a 3D character, I would complain that he isn’t realistic enough. Real people don’t have muppet arms. Everyone’s bragging about strength here, but I see speed and quickness. His little mustache gives him the look of someone about to have a shootout with Hannah Barbara’s Droopy Dog.

In interviews, Javaris is serious, taking the game of basketball about as lightly as the war in Iraq. As this young man fills out, he has nowhere to go but up.

Evaluation: Future Star. Probably somewhat erratic for now.

Plan: Distract Kobe during rookie mistakes and keep him focused on Crittenton’s blinding speed.

Andrew Bynum

Ok, let’s get down to it. The most relevant factor in the whole Kobe dilemma. . . Bynum.

This guy has had doubters all along. Writers claimed he’d be a bust, that the Lakers should have drafted Danny Granger. Now his trade value is sky high. So, what’s up with this kid? Andrew’s body has certainly changed. From high school butterball to. . . well, long and thin. Man is he long. This year’s Bynum body looks, unlike when drafted, like an athletic lottery pick. Lean. Muscled. Preparing to fill out.

Everyone is excited about his new strength, but he doesn’t look overpowering yet to me. He does, however, look much quicker, and springy on the offensive end. He still lopes down the length of the court a bit, but less so, and carries a trimmed load. Bynum certainly has the look of a young, future star. My guess? This is the year skinny, newly muscled Bynum can be good. Very good. But not yet great. Who can blame the kid. He’s only 19! We can’t expect him to be an all-star yet. It’s unheard of.

On the other hand, I cannot agree with the fury to give this kid up for a 35 year-old Jason Kidd. That sounds like a prescription for 15 years of regret. Any deal for Bynum must make the Lakers instant and legitimate contenders and pacify Kobe. Otherwise, Andrew Bynum looks suspiciously like a future cornerstone to me.

Evaluation: We need time!

Plan: Simple. Kidnap Kobe and place him in suspended animation for a short year and a half period. Bynum gains girth while Duncan and McGrady slow down and Amare’s knees crumble.

Conclusion: I refuse to write one. No. I can not say the signs are pointing to a championship this year, but there is a mountain of potential requiring a minimal amount of patience.

I have to say, the pressure of this situation is just no good for me. I’ve never been good with instability. I just can’t stand the not knowing. So there is only one approach left I know to take. . .

Dear Kobe,

Our past together has been so wonderful. The rings. The 81 point explosions. The ever present soap opera-like drama. The stupid Corvette and brick wall comparison.

I know we’re a little too skinny for your taste, but please, bear in mind, all that will change in such a short time. Don’t be so easily seduced by those other sexy teams. Be reasonable.

Please, just calm down, focus, and Kobe, be mindful. You have a long career ahead of you. There is still so much time for you to reach the gold again, with us, right here where we love you.

If not, goodbye. We can get some other player with an even weirder name than yours, like Thabo or Luol! We don’t need you. We’ve even got another Coby in the wings.

Goodbye and good luck, pal.

Yours,
Davey Da and the Laker Nation

Amen.

  • KLMonster

    funny article…

  • Edward

    I’m not sure how this trade will make the team better… do we really need those players, or do we have all those spots filled. I mean with the addition of Ben Gordon… how many centers would we have? I mean… it seems we’re just trying to get players that are “better” than what we have now, but we already have decent players at those positions… I’m not complaining though… Gordon and Deng… wow. But imagine Kobe playing for the Bulls next to Ben Gordon and Heinrich… did I spell that right? At any rate… I would love to see the greatest scorer once again in Chicago, if Kobe improved his team game, it’d really be reminiscent of MJ’s days, but then again it might be too late for that. I think trading all those players would cripple both teams.

  • Showtime

    I agree with what you wrote there Davey Da. The most important point is that, I too, do not want to trade Bynum for Kidd. It is just like instant food. It will not take a long time for it to get cold (Before others get mad at me, that is my opinion nothing more). Anyway, I am sorry to have to say this but Kobe cares for nothing less than himself. Dr. Buss has tasted what its like to be betrayed by your spoiled kid.

  • fatty

    “Kobe takes the High Road, is commended by PJ for doing it, but almost everyone else is taking the low road”

    – Fatty

  • klao

    WOW!!! it is sad to read all this comments, the only thing kobe is guilty of is wanting a better team to win a championship. He tried to pressured the lakers, maybe the wrong way, but in the end it was for the lakers and US fans to have a winning team, and how does he get paid?

    the body is not even cold and people are already hating him, it’s sad, but i guess it’s just business.

    some of you have said that if kobe didn’t want to stay after buss told him about the fans then he should leave. But do the fans bring championships? do you spend hours and hours working out? do you get blame for everything by the media and the fans?NO

    lets really be realistic here, it’s about a better team, buss is willing to trade kobe instead of making a trade for better players and he’s excuse is that kobe said no to the fans? how childish, but i guess if childish fans buy into blaming kobe then, it is what it is.

    blame shaq, blame kobe, the two ungrateful players. buss blamed kobe for shaq leaving, and know is blaming kobe for leaving and the fans are buying that?

    lets see what happens with this team, which i’m not a fan of anymore and not because of kobe, but because of the FO, i hate them now, and will not support a team that is not about winning anymore.

    Trading kobe has a bigger meaning, wanting to wait 5 to 6 years or even more to be contenders for a championship, i will not take that.

    and believe me the lakers will not get good value for kobe, and you will watch a team that no one cares about.

    i guess fans think like buss, no loyalty, at least respect what kobe gave you, some bad of course, some championships, some great games, some awesome memories, the great feeling of being a laker fan, at least be grateful to him.

    he’s looking to winning a championship and i can’t blame him for that, because i want that for my team, but if my team doesn’t want that then it’s time to move on, this lakers are not the great lakers.

    so before the body is cold, wait and see what happens.

    just remember that kobe showed to training camp, and said he would not be a distraction for this team, the team was having a great time in hawaii, then your buss opened his mouth, so don’t blame kobe.

    kobe’s comments were bad, but they were done in JUNE not in october, kobe at least has the sense to not be a distraction during the season, and he is a professional, and at least give him that.

    buss made a mistake to say what he said, and if none of the fans holds him accountable, the lakers will never be a great team again.

    stop blaming players, who only play and have no power of getting player, the OWNER is the one that needs to be blame here. When a player leaves it on the court, you need to look for someone else to blame.

  • E

    Kobe has never recently stated that he wants to leave…everyone is just assuming that he wants to…its funny how so many people can sway so easily with what journalists from espn “claim is the most likely scenario”..they said garnett wouldnt go to the celtics, and two days later he’s there…i absolutely agree with klao…watch dude, in a few months, when kobe’s pulling the team through, they’ll sway right back…i personally thought lakers fans were smarter than that, but apparently im incorrect…first of all, if u trade kobe, dont expect anything good to come out of it for the lakers…which leads me to my second point…as shady as buss can be, he wont trade for kobe unless he gets something good out of it…so dont expect kobe to leave anytime soon (and hopefully i wont be eating my words here)…lakers fans need to stop living in a fantasy and start getting more realistic…a few young “highly potential players” wont get you anywhere…esp if they come from the east..playing in the east is ten times easier than the west…so ppl like deng, gordon, wallace…dont expect them to fit into the lakers bcuz they never will…i say pay attention to the season and look at what u have now

  • PHANTOM

    Anyone that is backing Buss on this is an idiot. let me tell you why… do you know how many 7 footers with promise never develop and turn into lets say kwame brown? You can almost tell who is going to be a great player and who isn’t. Bynum has a lazy attitude and no competive spirit at all. He is 100% finese and no physical play what-so-ever. when this whole mess is all said and done he will be lucky to be a backup in this league my guess is another kwame brown. For Buss not to pull the trigger on the kidd deal is insane. The lakers are on the downhill road to disaster whether they trade kobe or not…

  • ai

    No one said that Buss was innocent Klao, well at least for the timing. If Kobe wants to win then that is fine with everyone but not the way he expressed it. Trade requests were put for players to excercise their options and not to go out publicly and insult teammates and superiors. KB could have said that the FO did not do what they said they were going to do to justify his trade demand and nothing more (he said little more than that!).

    In any case, if so frustrated for not winning he can opt out and get it over with (Arenas is going to do that without all the drama). If you mean to tell me that Kobe wants to win more than anyone is the reason for all the fuss, you can take a look at Karl Malone for instance. The man did not win a ring (as oppose to 3) and was ever too close to win it and was denied twice by the immortal MJ & Scottie duo. After spending all that time, he never did insult anyone. He was dedicated to winning and dedicated to the team that he was on. In the end, Malone moved to a team he thought could win but again failed for the third time. I wonder, who wanted to win more Kobe or Karl Malone? Again, Kobe has a couple of options if he wants to win so bad, either to demand a trade and WAIT (like other players do) or WAIT until he can opt out. That is the professional way to deal with this situation if he really is a pro (that is off the court!).

  • ab4sure

    [quote comment=”14825″]Anyone that is backing Buss on this is an idiot. let me tell you why… do you know how many 7 footers with promise never develop and turn into lets say kwame brown? You can almost tell who is going to be a great player and who isn’t. Bynum has a lazy attitude and no competive spirit at all. He is 100% finese and no physical play what-so-ever. when this whole mess is all said and done he will be lucky to be a backup in this league my guess is another kwame brown. For Buss not to pull the trigger on the kidd deal is insane. The lakers are on the downhill road to disaster whether they trade kobe or not…[/quote]

    He is already a starter in this league and his stats are already better than kwame’s. He has great hands. He has worked his a– off and you rarely find 7 ftrs. with his potential. Perhaps in the future we will be calling who ever wanted to trade bynum an idiot. by the way the soon to be 35 year old point guard Kidd just went to see the doctor for a bad back.

  • Tim-4-Show

    Open Your Eyes:
    Jerry West
    Shaq
    Kobe

    Yet I’m supposed to believe the FO is NOT the problem?

  • BEC

    I think the biggest frustration Kobe has with this team is the lack of competiveness and intensity. Its frustrating to play your heart out every night, while everyone doesnt have the slightest of hearts to even put it on the line.
    This team can go far, even win a title, if they play consistently. Kobes that good to elevate his game enough to compensate for everyone else, but without consistentcy from other players, theres no point. And thats not happening anytime soon.

    Why is everyone threatening to the leave the Lakers?
    I understand the Kobe fans leaving if Kobe leaves, but why Laker fans? Its only been three bad years. Im guessing these fans started becoming fans in 99-00 when we won a title, because before that the last time weve won a title was in 1988. Thats twelve years, this is nothing compared to the 90’s.

    The Lakers are the Lakers and basketball is still a beautiful sport to watch. Just enjoy the ride, we cant always be on top. Go LAKERS!!!!!!!!