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Lakers Trade Rumors: How Kobe Bryant Put the Kibosh on Andrew Bynum Negotiations

Bradlee Ross@rossbeCorrespondent IIMarch 13, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  Andrew Bynum #17 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers smile as they head back to the bench leading the Portland Trail Blazers during the fourth quarter at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  The Lakers won 103-92. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers might have been looking into trading Andrew Bynum this week, but they certainly aren’t now. The reason for that is Kobe Bryant.

Bryant has been critical of Bynum in the past, even saying back in 2007 that the Lakers were foolish not to trade Bynum for point guard Jason Kidd.

The tune Bryant is singing these days is quite different.

After the Lakers solid defeat of the Boston Celtics on Friday in which Bryant insisted that Bynum take the last shot, Bryant seemed to make a point of voicing his satisfaction with Bynum’s play and development as a player.

Bryant stated that Bynum had “improved so much” and that he felt it was important “to trust [Bynum] in that situation and throw the ball to him.”

Just how confident is Bryant in Bynum? He must be very confident, because Bryant never gives up big clutch shots to his teammates before the play even starts. In this case, he called the play for Bynum, overruling coach Mike Brown’s play that was probably for Bryant himself.

This is very big for Bynum because, as everyone knows, the Lakers are Kobe Bryant’s team, and a vote confidence from him is as good as gold.

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There is absolutely no way that the Lakers will trade Bynum because it would probably upset Bryant. We all know what happens when Kobe isn’t happy. The above-linked tirade about Bynum from 2007 should tell you if you don’t.

Bryant is the Lakers’ star and one of their biggest objectives is to keep him happy, even if it costs, because they know that he’s won the championships and knows how to win them again.

Bynum has the numbers to back up that vote of confidence from Bryant as well, averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds per game. Bryant’s apparent willingness to share the ball with Bynum only means that the young center will get even better.

At the end of the day, it’s all about what Bryant wants. He wields more power than head coach Mike Brown and possibly even GM Mitch Kupchak. He gets massive respect, as he should, for the rings on his fingers.

Anytime Bryant is disagreed, all he has to do is put a handful of rings in someone’s face and they’ll relent. Whether that’s right or wrong, it’s the way things are in the Lakers’ organization.

That’s why Bynum won’t be traded. Bryant’s vote of confidence in the center’s abilities is worth more than the stats or skills Bynum has developed. By giving up a clutch shot against a hated rival to Bynum and then giving the comments afterward that he did, Bryant ensured Bynum’s status as a Laker for years to come.

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