ESPN: The Kobe Bryant-to-Chicago trade talks are very real, and they’ve been real for a while.
ESPN.com has learned that the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls have been having daily discussions about Bryant trade possibilities for at least the past week, with Bryant’s no-trade clause throwing a unique wrench into the situation.
The Lakers are asking for a package built around Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah, which is more than Chicago is willing to surrender. Also, Bryant would not want to play in Chicago if the Bulls surrendered all four of those players, believing there would not be enough talent left to compete for a championship, and he would veto that trade even if the Bulls and Lakers were both in favor of it.
Further complicating matters is the division within the upper echelon of the Lakers front office, a house divided between the competing desires of owner Jerry Buss, his son, Jim, daughter Jeanie (and her boyfriend, coach Phil Jackson) and general manager Mitch Kupchak. One faction seems more determined than ever to part with Bryant, while others still are hanging onto the belief that Bryant can still be persuaded to stay in Los Angeles.
Bryant sat out the Lakers’ final exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas after injuring his right wrist in the Lakers’ previous game. It has become an accepted fact around the Lakers that Bryant still wishes to be traded, and two sources with direct knowledge of the ongoing trade discussions said Bryant’s preferred — and most likely — destination remains Chicago.