The biggest story still going on before the 2007-08 NBA season jumps is who is going to win the Kobe Bryant sweepstakes. It has been back and forth with Kobe and the Zen Master. And now Jerry Buss has chimed in and said that he will listen to trade offers for the Laker star.
Kobe is the most individually dynamic. I love LeBron, Nash, and other superstars around the league and what they do for their teams. But we are talking about a guy who scored 81 in an NBA game. He fills every arena he goes to. Fans just sit on the edge of their seats waiting for him to do something unbelievable. But that’s where the problem lies… He’s an individual and the last time I checked, basketball was a team game.
Here is an old NBA question…What is the best backcourt in NBA history?
Answer: Michael Jordan and whoever.
Jordan was so good that he made every backcourt mate a better player, a better shooter and a champion. Can Kobe be the type of player that does that for his backcourt mate? That’s is the question that 29 teams are asking themselves, but only a few can really be serious in addressing. The three teams that have been named are the Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks.
Eddie Johnson explained it beautifully and I will expand a little. Which team is willing to depart with practically their entire core for one guy? Remember Kobe is a perimeter player. He’s not Shaq, Chamberlain or Abdul-Jabbar in terms of inside presence and pure dominance. If those guys were traded, anybody can be traded. But at what price? The Mavs and the Suns would have to give up their respected superstar or a combination or All-Star players to even have a chance to get Kobe. And why would the Lakers trade him in the same conference. That wouldn’t be pretty at all.
The Bulls seems like the best fit. They are a Eastern Conference team. They have been looking for a replacement for His Airness since Jerry Krause disbanded the team. They have enough young assets to maybe package something together and still have enough left so Kobe wouldn’t feel like he is in a worse situation than he was back with the Lakers. Sounds great, but could he co-exist with Scott Skiles and his tough minded approach? I think so. Could he relish and not feel all the pressure that the city of Chicago would put on him to get them back to the promise land a la Jordan. Kobe loves that type of pressure! He wants to say, “I put this franchise on my back and got them a back as a legit championship team.”
And as long as the Cubs are still in town, he still has some leverage for at least the next 100 years. Ouch, low blow. My bad, Cubs fans.
So to sum it up, who wouldn’t want Kobe? If I’m a GM, I’m taking a quick look at the possibility. But are these teams willing to pay top dollar for the meat or just sit back, observe and stay vegetarians all season long?