Kobe Bryant: Mamba Will Have Few Options with a Trade Demand

December 31st, 2011 by Brian Mazique Leave a reply »

If the Lakers struggle, will Kobe Bryant want out? That is one of the biggest questions surrounding the Lakers franchise right now. With the acquisition of Dwight Howard in doubt, the Lakers face an uncertain future.

Kobe is an old 33, because of minutes played (over 48000 in his NBA career) and injuries. He is smart enough to know, he has only two to three years left at a high level. Does he want to spend that time re-tooling with the Lakers?

The Lakers have begun to play better after they started the season 0-2. A crushing loss to the Bulls on Christmas Day was followed by a defeat at the hands of the Sacramento Kings

They have now won two straight, a blowout victory over the Utah Jazz and a 17-point spanking of the defensively-challenged New York Knicks. The Lakers have always been a good defensive team, but Mike Brown is making them look great.

Holding the trigger happy and offensively talented Knicks to 82 points is an impressive feat. There is a transition happening, and Kobe may be slowly buying in. The buy-in will hit another gear if the Lakers take another stride when suspended center, Andrew Bynum rejoins the team against Denver.

The big man’s presence should add even more to a Lakers defense that has only given up 100 points once this season. They are holding teams to 85.2 points per game through four contests. That is good for fourth in the league.

But what happens if they don’t take a stride and it becomes evident that the Lakers are a fourth or fifth seed at best? What pressure does Kobe feel?

After this season, Kobe has two years left on his deal. A deal that pays him 27.8 and 30.5 million dollars annually. That is a hefty, but deserving total for the future Hall of Famer.

If he does demand a trade, who can and will be willing to pay the cost? Considering Kobe’s talent, salary, age and injury history, it is a hefty investment for any team to make.

The Lakers are going to demand a large part, if not all of a potential team’s future to pull it off. A team would probably have to have a significant amount of cap room to attempt, and then still have young players to offer in return.

What team has that, and would be willing to give it up for a player who is clearly on the decline? As great as he is, Kobe will be 35 at the end of this current deal. How much and how long would any team sign him for come the summer of 2014?

For example, would the Bulls be willing to part with Luol Deng and Joakim Noah to bring Kobe in? I wouldn’t if i were Gar Forman and John Paxson. Three or four years ago, I’d have done it in a heartbeat, but not now.

Other teams that would be interested don’t have the young commodities to pull it off. Kobe and the Lakers are likely stuck with each other. Kobe is smart enough, so he has probably already realized that and committed himself to making this team the best they can be.

It’s likely he won’t have many alternatives.


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