O.J. Mayo: The Kobe Bryant Alternative

Scott SerlesCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2007

Icons Sports MediaA few weeks back, I wrote that you'd have to be nuts to trade Kobe Bryant to anyone for anything.

While I still believe there's something seriously wrong with those who'd even consider the proposition, I'd now like to add an asterisk to that statement.

Trade Kobe Bryant? Are You Crazy?*

In this case, the asterisk represents USC phenom O.J. Mayo.

Mayo is the truth. Actually, Mayo is pretty much what's printed on Jules Winfield's wallet in the movie Pulp Fiction.

If you don't know what I'm getting at—Google it.

And about that asterisk: If Kobe just has to get out of Los Angeles, the Lakers have to position themselves to obtain Mayo.

First, Mayo, as a player, is the future of the NBA. No less importantly, it'd be a shrewd PR move for Dr. Jerry Buss and the Lake Show.

Mayo is going to set L.A. on fire (no pun intended) this winter and spring when he takes the Trojans deep into the NCAA Tournament. As he carries that momentum into the NBA, the league's power brokers can't allow Mayo to end up somewhere like Toronto or Charlotte.

Imagine Mayo in one of those ridiculous Raptors unis. It's David Stern's marketing nightmare.

The alternative?

Mayo could easily become Tinsel Town's newest "IT" Boy...if the Lakers play their cards right.

If the Lakers are in fact forced to part with Kobe, they need to unload him on one of the league's crappiest teams (the Knicks, maybe?) to secure a high draft pick.

Of course, nothing's guaranteed in the Lottery—but if the ping-pong balls don't bounce the Lakers' way, they need to do everything they can to pry Mayo from the team lucky enough to land him.

While he's at it, Buss would do well to secure some complementary pieces for the young star—and maybe pick up another 2009 first-rounder in hopes of grabbing Greg Monroe.

Monroe and Andrew Bynum could be a formidable frontcourt duo for the next decade. Add Mayo's playmaking skills to the mix, and you have yourself the makings of a dynasty.

Now, I'm a Lakers fan, but I'm also a realist. In no way, shape, or form do I advocate trading the best player in the NBA for unproven commodities.

But if Buss and Co. do have have to unload No. 24, getting Mayo on board would be the only way to ease the sting.

I'll still call you crazy if you tell me that trading Kobe is the right move for this franchise. For now, though, I'll at least consider Mayo as a possible alternative.

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