When I first posted Kobe Trade Scenarios #1 and #2, it was mostly in jest. I say “mostly” because, although I wrote the majority of those posts under the influence of deception and betrayal, by the time “KTS1″ actually made it to ML’s front page, Kobe had rescinded his trade demand just moments later (it’s like he was intentionally trying to spite me), and I thereafter made multiple changes what I was planning to post as “KTS2″ to reflect that fact — I probably wouldn’t have even posted the 2nd one if I hadn’t finished writing it beforehand (I don’t like to let things go to waste). Little did I know that the 2 teams I had Kobe being traded to in my scenarios, New York and Chicago, are the 2 teams that he wants to be traded to in the midst of his thousandth trade demand since the Lakers’ elimination from the playoffs. [Here's something to think about -- what's happened more often in the past few weeks? Kobe Bryant demanding a trade or Lil' Wayne dropping a mixtape?]
In a post on his official website (which speaks to a much greater magnitude then a questionable newspaper report or Kobe running his mouth on the radio), Kobe says that he and Lakers’ owner Dr. Jerry Buss have “two different visions” for the Lakers’ future. I’d say that, as opposed to Kobe’s “fantasy land” vision, Dr. Buss’ vision is more reality-based, considering that teams who lose/get rid of a franchise player like Shaquille O’Neal aren’t exactly competing for championships the next day. It happened to the Orlando Magic when Shaq bounced from there in ’96 (Orlando hasn’t moved past the 1st round of the playoffs since), it’s happening to the Lakers now, and, sorry to break this to any Miami Heat fans reading this, but once Shaq retires, I doubt that y’all will really be making the extra effort to coordinate your outfits so damn well.
As the “resident Laker fan” to many close friends, I’m sick of defending Kobe. Every reason he gives to try to justify his actions of late just smell more and more bullshittier. I especially enjoy the whole “Dr. Buss lied to me”-angle. Now, I’ve got nothing but love for Jerry Buss — his pockets-got-the-mumps bank account has helped together some great rosters in the past. But, honestly, the guy comes off as a kind of sleazy — he’s 74 years old kicking it with Hugh Hefner, with fuck-buddies in their 20s (one of whom was riding shotgun during Dr. Buss’ recent DUI arrest). With his the face of his franchise on the verge of singing elsewhere, he told Kobe what Kobe wanted to hear — something along the lines of “We’ll build a contender again soon.” Dr. Buss purchased the Lakers in 1979 for $67.5 million, and that’s a probably a fraction of his net worth nowadays — I’m sorry, but you don’t get that rich by telling people the truth. If Kobe expects sympathy for taking the bait and falling for Dr. Buss’ sweet-talkin’ ways, then maybe a college education would’ve done him some good.
Kobe also wants to talk about the mistakes the Lakers have made in free agency, yet tries to front like he wasn’t with Magic Johnson and Phil Jackson, dialing up Vladimir Radmanovic at 9 a.m. in Serbia (as someone with relatives in Serbia, I know that Kobe was up at midnight to make that phone call), trying to get him to sign with the team — Vladimir did sign, and his first season was pretty much a disaster. It’s as if one minute Kobe is deep in the thick of things, discussing potential moves with the Lakers’ front office, and then the next minute, he’s on the outside looking in, acting like decisions are made without his input. With this sort of inconsistency of his part, it’s no surprise that Kobe’s changed his mind every other day about wanting to be a Laker.
If there’s anything that disappoints me about this whole ordeal, other than the obvious fact that my favorite NBA team appears on the verge of trading one of the game’s best players in recent memory, it’s the total lack of intrigue. When Shaq and Allen Iverson made their trade demands, there were lots of teams that could’ve been possible destinations for each. Meanwhile, in Kobe’s case, it looks like it’s down to only the Knicks and the Bulls. I’m not buying the hype about the Suns — I just can’t see the Lakers trading Kobe to a team in the Western Conference, let alone a team in their same division.
But, if there is one thing intriguing going on here, it would have to be this website, that claims to have video of Kobe speaking “openly” (i.e. curse words) about his frustration with the Lakers, and claims further that a “private party” offered $100,000 to have this video destroyed.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kt9DBMMwCM[/youtube]
The video will soon be sold on this site for $1.99, for anyone out there who is still not sick of Kobe. At this point, I couldn’t blame you if you were.