“Basketball reasons” was the official explanation as to why the Lakers trade with the Rockets and Hornets that would’ve brought Chris Paul to LA was nixed. Count Kobe Bryant as someone who doesn’t believe NBA Commissioner David Stern’s explanation.
“I think other owners did not want the Lakers to make significant improvements again. We always contended as players that the lockout was really more so about the owners fighting amongst themselves, which is what you just saw [with the vetoed trade],” Bryant said. “You got Chris Paul coming here and the other owners weren’t with that, because you don’t want another great player coming to L.A., and all of the sudden Los Angeles has another player that can carry them on well after I retire. So, it’s more about the owners bickering amongst themselves.”
Bryant added that the Lakers were “getting hammered” by the new tenets of the recently ratified collective bargaining agreement, which will include a revenue sharing obligation of $50 million per season by the Lakers, as well as a more punitive luxury tax system that will severely penalize the Lakers unless they cut down their $83 million payroll between now and 2013-14 when the new taxes kick in.
He has a point, Dan Gilbert even mentioned the financial benefit the Lakers would’ve gotten had the original trade happened. Now everyone is waiting to see what the next move will be from LA’s “big brother” team. Stephen A. Smith believes that Kobe is asking for a trade.
“I predicted that Kobe Bryant will demand a trade, and I am not budging from that. He’s livid. I’ve known Kobe too long. He is ticked off.
“It’s not just because [the Clippers] got Chris Paul, which is a guy that he expected to have. It’s because Jim Buss seems to be doing the inexplicable,” Smith said. “It makes no sense. It’s one thing for the team not to have improved [after losing to the Mavericks], it’s another thing entirely for them to regress. If you know anything about Kobe, that is the last thing that he wants to do.
“It will not be pleasant at all.”
Although publicly Kobe’s said it’s about time the Clippers are giving the Lakers a little bit of competition. But, at this point in his career, I can’t see Kobe wanting to go play somewhere else. The amount of players it would take for it to happen would deplete a new team.
Interesting NBA season…