To trade Kobe, or not to trade Kobe

Will he go, or won’t he? Do a quick Google search and you’ll find hundreds of stories and nearly as many opinions on the fate of Kobe Bryant. The rumor of the day is that a Bryant trade could be imminent, with the Los Angeles Lakers having serious daily conversations with the Chicago Bulls, where Bryant and change could be traded for Loul Deng, Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah.

But while the trade rumors in Los Angeles are as ubiquitous as the city’s omnipresent smog, the reality is that actually finalizing a deal involving Kobe Bryant is pretty complicated. Three different parties with 3 unique agendas – namely the Lakers, their trading partner (in this case the Bulls) and Kobe (who can veto any trades he doesn’t like) – all need to come to a serious consensus for any trade to happen. So, if Bulls GM John Paxon decides that Deng is too valuable to include in any trades – sorry, no deal. If the Lakers internally aren’t able to reach a consensus – with Jim Buss, Mitch Kup-cake and Jerry Buss on the “trade Kobe” side and Phil Jackson and Jeanie Buss on the “keep Kobe” end – it could be a very long wait for those hoping for a Kobe deal. If Kobe himself doesn’t like the management, city, roster, weather or highway system of a particular trade destination, then all the trade discussion in the world won’t get Kobe to approve the move.

The end result of course is that a Kobe deal, at this point at least, is probably highly unlikely. A lot of different pieces would need to fall into place, and that doesn’t quite seem to be happening. But what may happen, if the Kobe to the Bulls trade rumors persists and the names of the specific players involved in the rumored conversations solidify, more teams around the league will throw their hat into the fray. If you’re a NBA GM on the outside looking in and see that the Bulls are about to land the best player in the league with a package of Deng, Gordon, Thomas and Noah, you’re probably thinking “why not us.” You’re scrambling to pull together a package of your own, as you gain more insight into the Lakers possible threshold, in terms of the level of talent they’re seeking in return for Kobe Bryant.

The end result of all these “strong” rumors being out there is that the Lakers will inevitably get better offers, as competing GMs drive up the market price. Makes you wonder if the Bulls rumors aren’t being leaked by the Lakers themselves.

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