by Marcel Mutoni

Lang linked to an article written by Mike Bresnahan in the LA Times this morning, in which Lakers owner Jerry Buss said the team is willing to trade Kobe Bryant if the right offer came along. Kind of a big deal, right? Let’s take a closer look:

“I would certainly listen,” Buss said. “At any time, I think you have to do that with anybody. It’s just part of the game, to listen to somebody who has a dissatisfied player that you think is going to fit. You can’t keep too many loyalties. You’ve got to look at it as a business. He looks at it the same way I look at it.”

“I tend not to think in basketball terms that many years down the road because things change so dramatically, but he could test the waters at that point,” Buss said. “If he still is in that frame of mind, then hopefully we can do a sign-and-trade and get some comparable talent. I would like to think that we win between now and then so that it doesn’t come up.”

What does that mean exactly? To me, basically nothing. In essence, we’re right back to square one in Lakerland. Buss claims that the team listened really carefully to offers for Kobe this summer but nothing reasonable was offered in return; and they’re going to try to win now so that he’s not unhappy in two years when he can opt out of his contract.

Here’s what I don’t get: Why even talk to the media about this; what kind of message is Jerry Buss trying to send? That his star player, and the only reason most people pay attention to his team, is expendable? Since he’s almost impossible to trade between now and 2009, instead of potentially antagonizing him even more, shouldn’t Buss be kissing up to Bryant and saying he’s doing everything in his power to surround him with better talent? Oh wait, that would make too much sense.