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Everyone in Los Angeles Just Calm Down!

“Kobe Bryant demands to be traded from the Los Angeles Lakers” is what you saw scrolling across your screen yesterday, but don’t let ESPN fool you with their headlines and reports. Look past the Stephen A. Smith interview and focus more on the Dan Patrick interview that took place after Kobe spoke with Smith (and Phil Jackson for that matter), and you will see how he backs off his demands and reveals what his real agendas are.

Agenda # 1: Win, and win now (make a significant trade and hire Jerry West). Kobe realizes that he’s an old 28, having logged 9,000 more minutes than Michael Jordan did at the same point in his career. Everyone’s saying, “Why’s he making demands through the media?” Although it makes him look extremely selfish (he is), it also puts immense pressure on the Lakers front office to make a significant move this off-season, and ultimately, the pressure he’s applied is going to result in big trade this summer (not involving him) and Jerry West’s return. Kobe took things to another level on Wednesday with his trade demands, a level that I’m completely stunned, embarrassed, and disappointed in as a loyal fan of his. He bluffed this afternoon, and he couldn’t even hold his bluff for one interview, let alone two hours.

Kobe knows he’s not being traded; it’s just not a realistic option with $88 million remaining on his contract, a no trade clause, and an additional $13 million hit on the team that he’s traded too for enacting the clause. L.A. is tinsel town, glamour and glitz, and a town full of stars where he shines brightest amongst them all. He’s a moneymaker, Jerry Buss is a businessman, and Lakers fans would not ever forgive Buss for trading away two of their favorite players of all time (Bryant, O’Neal). Let’s say the Lakers would try to trade him; who would be the takers? There would be many, but wherever Bryant ended up, he would be in the same or a worse situation than he is now because the Lakers would require too much in return. It’s quite simple: Kobe Bryant is the most un-tradable player in the NBA.

Kobe’s message was sent loud and clear in the post-game interview at the conclusion of the Suns series, his exit interview in L.A., and remarks he made about Jerry West’s return through the media this past week. But enough is enough, he’s said what he wants, and now it’s time to give the Lakers front office an opportunity to make something happen.

Agenda # 2: Kobe Bryant hates losing, and he can’t stand not being the center of attention, especially around playoff time. The only thing I’m surprised about is that Jim Gray was not involved in this media parade by the Kobester. Kobe and Gray want to be like Ali and Cosell were back in the day, at least I once thought that. Expect a Kobe/Gray interview in the upcoming days. But anyways, for a prime example of my point, let’s go back to a night in 2003 when the NBA was holding its annual draft. Remember this was supposed to be Lebron and Carmelo’s night, but who stole the show? Kobe announced, through Gray, that he would opt of his contract after the 2003-04 season in order to test the free agent market.

Agenda # 3: Kobe wanted his name removed from orchestrating Shaquille O’Neal’s exit from L.A. He hates the fact that he’s associated with the one thing that people will not stop talking about, how he “forced” Shaq out, and he was clearly out to set the record straight with his remarks about how Buss told him Shaq would not be-resigned.

So what do the Lakers do now? We’ve already established the fact that Kobe’s going to return next season, but remember, he has a clause in his contract where he can opt of his two seasons from now. The Lakers don’t have two seasons to appease Kobe, they have one, because if things don’t go right starting right now, it’s going to get awfully ugly and a trade will be the Lakers only option.

Make the following moves and you’ll see a smile on the Kobester’s face (and he just might still be playing around this time next year instead of waking up at 4:30 am to workout):

Off-season move # 1: Bring back “The Logo” as a consultant.

Off-season move # 2: Re-sign Luke Walton, Ronnie Turiaf, and Chris Mihm.

Off-season move # 3: Release Smush Parker, and do not trade Lamar Odom (Lakers will not receive full value for him in a trade because of the labrum injury).

Off-season move # 4: Sign a veteran point guard to a mid-level exception to compete with Jordan Farmar, or package Farmar in a trade to acquire a veteran point guard.

Before we get to the most important move of all, let’s make some trade rules:

1. Do not give up a plethora of young talent for a player like Jason Kidd. Kidd better not come to L.A, because if he does, the Lakers have made a huge mistake. Thorn insists that Bynum be included in the package and that’s something the Lakers should definitely not do when considering they’ll be getting a 34 year-old point guard in return with two or three years left in him.

2. As tempting as it might be, do not package Odom, Bynum, and a draft pick for Kevin Garnett.

And now for the grand daddy move of them all:

Off-season move # 5: Trade for Jermaine O’Neal. The Lakers could give the Pacers: Andrew Bynum, Kwame Brown (due $9.1 million next year, contract expires in 2008; a key piece in this trade but he could possibly undergo reconstructive ankle surgery, Lakers fans better hope not), a first round pick this year (19th overall), and whatever other filler is needed to match salaries (i.e. Cook $3.5 million over the next three years), FOR Jermaine O’Neal. I believe that’s a deal that puts the Lakers right back in the thick of things in the West.

The O’Neal trade scenario is far better than Kidd’s because you know your going to have O’Neal (28 years old) and Kobe (also 28) paired together for a number of years. Whereas with Kidd, it’s a two year plan (three at the most), and if it doesn’t work out right away, there’s going to be a ton of repercussions that’s going to result in a complete overhaul of the roster. If the Lakers give up Bynum, they must get an inside presence in return that’s going to be around for awhile. Think about it, three or four years from now Bynum’s going to be a really, really good player in this league; and if the Lakers trade him for Kidd and don’t win a championship, how bad of a deal is that going to turn out to be when Kidd is on the couch and Bynum is just entering his prime?

If the Lakers do trade for O’Neal, they’ll have a starting lineup that consists of Bryant, O’Neal, Farmar (or a veteran signee), Odom, and Walton (must re-sign him this off-season). They could then sign a veteran free agent point guard to the mid-level exception (5 years, 30 million) or trade for one this off-season, and all of the sudden they have a team that could not only win now, but for four of five years down the line.

Don’t be fooled by the panic attack the media wants to thrusts on Laker fans. The pieces are somewhat in place on this team, but Kobe and Laker fans also need to realize this isn’t fantasy basketball; you can’t just trade for Garnett, trade for Ron Artest, and sign Chauncey Billups.

Sometimes all it takes is one simple move to turn a mediocre team into a team that could realistically contend for a title. Plug an All-Star like Jermaine O’Neal into this lineup with the best player in the league in Kobe Bryant, an all around player in Lamar Odom, a nice role player in Luke Walton, and an athletic point guard like Jordan Farmar or a veteran signee; and all of the sudden you’ve got a starting lineup that is talented, experienced, young, and ready to contend.

  • AKKOBEAK

    wow this would beeee the best team ever but they should try and get ron artest too

  • blackmamba24

    wow sounds goood

  • Boogie

    Kwame and Bynum for O’neal?? and who will be a backup C. Minm? maybe, but still option that Kwame stays in Line-up would be better
    Kwame-C
    O’neal-F
    Walton-F
    Bryant-G
    veteran pointguard or Farmar-G

  • blackmamba24

    Kobe billups artest odom and oneal

  • blackmamba24

    2 ways lakers can get J.O. w/o trading odom…trade kwame and bynum together or kwame evans and radman. then lakers can sign billups in free agenecy, and also get a trade for artest.

  • Big D

    This team will get beat down by San Antonio, but I would love to see Kwame gone as he is a lazy bastard that should be averaging many more rebounds per game, but that is another story.

    Getting rid of Bynum is a bad moove, but I don’t see what other options the lakers have.

  • http://yahoo.com Christopher

    You should get Mike Bibby for a sign and trade for Smush Parker, then trade Kwame,Sasha,and Cook for K.G. Then sign Mo Williams or Steve Blake. Put Jordan Farmar in D-League. Sign Morris Peterson.

  • Rami Safi aka Safi24

    That sounds like a great line up its just i dont think we should trade farmar because i think he might have a break out season next season because he is very talented and he will grow to be a great player but i do think we need JO and a good point guard like steve blake or mo williams

    (if money was not an issue we should have gotten chauncey billups)

  • http://www.kb24.com darkice18

    i love that lineup…

    JORDAN FARMAR/VETERAN
    KOBE BRYANT/MO EVANS
    LUKE WALTON OR RON ARTEST/??DRAFT PICKS
    LAMAR ODOM/RONNY TURIAF
    JERMAINE O’NEAL/CHRIS MIHM

    …WITH THAT LINEUP WE WOULD WIN 55 PLUS GAMES AND DEFINETLY CONTEND IF HEALTHY…AND MAYBE WE CAN TRADE LUKE AND SASHA FOR RON ARTEST…

  • S.Froid

    Kwame is useless. he sux. Trade Him. He is useless and gets payed too much

    To do list:

    -RE-sign Luke Walton & Turiaf(If given minutes he is a dub dub guy)
    -Trade for Jermaine O’neal (Brown,Bynum,Odom,V.RAD)
    -Sign Maurice Williams
    -if able sign Gerald Wallace (Odom could be a alrite asset for a trade)
    -Drop Smush Parker
    -Trade Brown/Bynum for someone good

    Ps.
    -Gerald Wallace is payed at about 6mil (less than Brown 9mil)
    -Mo Williams gets payed between 1-2mil. Averages about 7 assist.
    -Since Brian Grant wont be payed anymore his 15 mil can go towards O’neal.

    Line Up can potentially be:

    Center-(Insert Center)(or O’neal)
    Powerforward- O’neal (If Odom stays, or Gerald Wallace if signed)
    SmallForward- Walton
    ShootingGaurd- Kobe Bryant
    PointGaurd- Mo Williams

  • Josh

    Although I love the line up…I just don’t think the
    Lakers can get all those players.
    O’Neal I’ve heard is a done deal and thats why Kobe backed
    off yesterday, but they said Odom would be the main player leaving LA…sad I love Odom,O’neal,Bryant trio.

  • T

    Do you really think the Pacers are going to give up an all-star for unproven potential (Socks) and damaged goods (Kwame)? Seeing as Kwame and Odom have gone under the knife this summer, Bird will most definitely ask for both LO and Bynum. Otherwise O’Neal will be a Knick next year.

  • Kobe All Day 8

    If im giving up bynum and kwamee id rather KG the hell with JO

    i would try and keep bynum at all cost though.

  • Lakerjones

    Justin –
    This is just an absolutely fantastic take. Well written – and phenomenal points. And I’m not just saying that because I’m complete agreement on everything you’re saying here. Or maybe I am actually saying it for that reason! You’re right on with all moves. And of course right on about not trading Kobe. JO with Lamar makes perfect sense for the Lakers. Kwame is a project, Bynum is a project – they need to go. They have a lot of value to Indy who wants to rebuild and can get Kwame’s 9.1 off the books after a year. They want our draft pick. They don’t even want Lamar as far as we know. They already have a Lamar like player in Grainger and he’s younger and cheaper. The deal has to work for both sides – and with Bynum and Kwame it does. Yes, Lakers FO get your sheet together and pull it off. MLE for a decent point guard and then we’re set.

  • laker247

    i like the idea by not trading odom. but a s&t walton for artest would be better since the kings are tired of artest. they should sign magloire for backup since aldridge or oden is their future center.

  • Ricky

    I love this article!! This article expresses exactly what I have been hoping the Lakers would do this offseason. The trade ideas are perfect and would help the Lakers get back to being contenders. With the addition of Jermaine O’Neal, the Lakers will get the low post threat they need to get them to the next level. They also should resign Walton, Mihm, and Turiaf because those players play extremely hard and are excellent role players. Lamar should not be traded because he is valuabe to the Lakers and is required if the Lakers want to make a deep playoff run. His versatility will go along way and he will prove to be another threat the Lakers have besides Kobe and Jermaine. Lakers won’t go deep without him, so Lamar is a key component in the Lakers desire to win.

    Possible lineup

    C- O’Neal
    F- Odom
    F- Walton
    G- Bryant
    G- Farmar (or veteran signee)

    Bench

    C- Mihm
    F- Turiaf, Cook
    F- Radmanovic
    G- Evans, Sasha
    G- Shammond

  • Wello

    PG-Bibby/Farmar
    SG-Kobe/Evans
    SF-Walton/Artest/Radmanovic
    PF-Lamar/Turiaf
    C-Jermaine/Mihm

    Out-Kwame(small hands/uncoordinated), Bynum(unathletic, could barely dunk-no springs)

    Trade for JO but must keep LO or we’re back to square one! Then sign Bibby – or a 3 point shooting PG, don’t really need a assist PG. Just need to make that open jumper or 3 when KB,LO,JO gets double teamed.

  • j-rock

    I dont really know if JO will be the messiah for the Lakers. He’s been on the decline for the past few seasons, but with the lack of many quality centers in the NBA, JO would be a great acquisition, even at the cost of a Lamar Odom or Brown, or Bynum. Brown is simply horrible. Bynum has potential, but he is probably going to be like brendan haywood at best. I’m so sick of hearing, “Well he’s only 19″ So was kwame Brown and Leon Smith, and the never did anything productive. Lamar cannot consistently play alongside kobe.

    The lakers need to bring JO in, sign Turiaf, and give mihm a look. They need to get stronger at PG, but should not give up on Farmar. Mo Williams or Pargo are avail. Bring in a veteran, calming influence. Eddie Jones is available!!! or even better, Grant Hill. Magloire is also available and can be used as a good baackup center.

    The Lakers need some instant offense off the bench. A guy like flip murray could fill that position or matt barnes.

    I dont care what all the analysts say, you do not need luke walton.

    Trade Kwame for Caron, please!!!! There’s still time to erase that mistake.

    Draft Bobby Brown (CSUF)

    possible lineup***my 2k lineup.

    C- JO Mihm/Magloire
    PF-Turiaf Cook
    SF-Grant Hill Evans
    SG-Kobe Flip Muray
    PG-Eddie Jones Farmar/Bobby Brown

    ***remember, we can always trade our garbage to charlotte for 2nd round picks. we’ve done it before, Kareem Rush and Jumaine Jones.

    All the lakers need to do is hire me as the GM.

  • byao8

    Gerald Wallace most probably will opt out of his contract, and mo williams is a free agent. their salaries are low and are easy to get.
    DO IT MITCH!

  • http://getgarnett.com jonas joseph

    heres wat should happen

    resighn Luke and Ronny and Mihm
    let go smush
    trade cook,vujacic,brown,mabe lamar,mckie,trade 2ndround draft picks

    keep kobeMVP,Bynum-Future Star,Evans-Great Athlete,Mihm-works Hard,Ronny Turiaf-Excitind,Luke-Getting Beter,,Shammond Williams-good scorer,Jordan Farma-young and talented,Vladdameer Radnovic-3 point shooter

    draft-Rodney Stuckey coolege Stats-24.4ppg 5.5ast 4.7rpg

    free agent
    mo willams or mike biby for point gaurd
    Garold Wallace or Rashad Lewis
    Scottie Pippen

    trades
    lamar,Chris Mihm,Sasha Vujacic,Auron Mckie for Pau Gasol
    Kwame Brown , sencond round draft pick bRIAN Cook for ron Artest
    Mickie
    here our line up

    C-Pau Gasol-18.9ppg
    Pf-Gerald Wallace-10.9ppg
    Sf-Ron Artest-14.8ppg
    Sg-Kobe Bryant-27.8ppg
    Pg-Mo Williams-12.3ppg
    Bench( Order By Future Paformancees)
    C-Andrew Bynum-9.8ppg
    Pf-Ronny Turiaf-5.1ppg
    Pf-Vladdameer Radnovic-6.4
    Sf-Luke Walton-10.8ppg
    Sf-Scottie Pippen-3.4ppg
    Sg-Maurice Evans-5.0ppg
    Sg-Rodney Stuckey-4.5ppg
    Pg-Jordan Famar-5.6ppg
    Pg-Shammond Williams-2.2ppg

    if mitch could do this whitch could happen if the palyers could work hard if we could be healthy this could happen

    GO LAKERS 52PLUS GAMES

  • Wello

    Pay up Buss!!!!!!!!!!!!!