Imagine you're the GM of the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Chicago Bulls have just proposed a trade for Kobe Bryant.
The deal: Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, Ben Gordon, and a first-round pick in the 2008 NBA Draft for "The Black Mamba."
Would you do it?
If you answer "yes," you're fired as the GM of the Lakers in two years.
In the meantime, Kobe brings the Bulls two NBA championships, and you're committed to the nearest mental facility, because you must've been crazy to trade possibly the best wing player of all time—and in my opinion one of the five greatest players EVER.
And for what?
For one guy who can jump high (Thomas), one who can't shoot (Noah), a poor man's Mitch Richmond (Ben Gordon), and let's just say...Tyler Hansbrough (first-round pick).
There's no player in the league who could give fair value for Kobe. Maybe Kevin Durant, but that's based strictly on potential...and I'd still want two No. 1's in 2008 and 2009.
Lakers fans are fed up with Kobe, and even booed him on opening night. I don't blame him for wanting out.
Kobe's repeated attempts to get help have been thwarted. Rumors that the Lakers were going to obtain Jason Kidd, Jermaine O'Neal, and Kevin Garnett never came to fruition.
The apparent deal breaker?
Andrew Bynum—a kid.
I hope for Lakers fans and even Dr. Jerry Buss that this boy turns out to be the player they think he's going to be. But if I'm Kobe, I 'm not going to wait for an 18-year-old's game to develop.
Can you imagine Jason Kidd and Kobe Bryant on the same team?
Kobe can—and that's why he's pissed.
Over the past 25 years, every championship team has had one superstar and at least one sidekick. Magic had Worthy, Bird had McHale, Isiah had Laimbeer, Mahorn, Dumars, and a young Dennis Rodman.
And of course Jordan had Scottie and Ho Grant—and when Horace cashed in his free agent chips in, the Bulls signed the Worm.
I could even argue that without Pippen, Grant, and Rodman, MJ might have gone down in history as just another high-flying scorer—à la Dominique Wilkins.
By the same token, Kobe wouldn't have won without Shaq, and vice versa. Which brings me back to my point:
Kobe knows he doesn't have the necessary supporting cast to compete for another title.
Lamar Odom and Luke Walton are nice teammates, but they lack the elite status of a Kidd or a KG.
Look at what Garnett has done already for the Celtics. Why couldn't he do that for the T-Wolves?
Because he had nobody there to help him.
The lesson here is obvious: Nobody, no matter how great, can go it alone.
NOBODY. Not even Michael Jordan. Not in today's NBA.
If Michael Jordan is regarded as the greatest player to ever lace up a pair of Nikes, Kobe has to be right there with him statistically.
Jordan played in 1,072 games, shot 49 percent from the field, and averaged 30 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals a game.
Kobe has played in 790 games, shot 45 percent, and averaged 28, 5, 4, and 1.5.
That said, the stat that's most important to Kobe is number of rings—Jordan has six, Kobe three.
And that's why Kobe wants out out of LA.
I don't blame him at all.
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