Thursday, November 1, 2007

Just Pull the Friggin' Trigger

There are three schools of thought in the Bryant debacle.

1. Kobe being traded is really interesting and a huge deal, therefore I think it will happen, because it means something exciting.
2. Kobe Bryant is one of, if not the, best player in the NBA, and therefore will never be traded, ever. His contract is too hard to relocate, and the Lakers will not be able to get enough back for him.
3. This thing has gone too far, and there's no other ending here but Bryant being traded. It's just a matter of when.

We're in the last camp. It's not that we don't recognize the enormous amount of obstacles that stand in the way of the trade. It's that this thing has gone too far. Kobe made the first trade demand five months ago. He tried to step back from it to ease public perception, but it was too late. Now, Buss and Kupchak could have nipped this thing in the bud. All they had to do was keep their mouth shut. Deliver the same tired cliches GMs and owners always use in these situations, and talk to Kobe about getting things straight. What did they do instead? They opened the floodgates, and they sent Phil after him. Are you telling me that after Buss has said he's doing what he can to make a deal, and after Phil has questioned his commitment, that Kobe's just going to be like, "Okay, well, it's cool, then."?

No way.

The problem? Buss and Kupchak have to do everything they can to make it seem like they're not getting hosed. They have to make the process painful and wait on someone to break, even though they're probably not going to. The same reason the Suns didn't pull the trigger on the KG deal is the same reason the Bulls won't pull the trigger on any deal that mortgages more than 1 of their young players. They're more than willing to dish Deng. But they're not giving up Deng, Thomas, and Gordon for anybody.

At this point it's a waiting game. Kupchak knows he has to pull the trigger at some point, but he's going to wait to get as much as he can out of it. I'd say that if the Lakers can't convince Kobe to accept a Deng trade by next week, they'll start lowering expectations.

The three-way with the Suns has been the best offer for them so far. Getting Marion replaces a lot of the Kobe vacancy. No one is Bryant, but Matrix would give them a huge boost. It's just a matter of getting enough from the Bulls.

What Kupchak and Buss have to come to terms with is this:

You're never getting full value back on Kobe Bryant.

It's impossible.

You can't put together enough to trade for Kobe Bryant in an even trade without being short too many players to field a team. So if you decide you're going to trade him, you're already admitting you're not going to get equal value. So if you're not going to get 1-1 for him, don't you at least want to try and get 75 cents on the dollar? By waiting and screwing around, they're going to end up with a deal that is absolutely horrible.

This isn't fair to Kobe, but we don't really care. It's not fair to Luke Walton, Andrew Bynum, Ronnie Turiaf, Derek Fisher, or anybody else involved in trade talks.

Pull the Friggin' Trigger.

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