Did Kobe Change His Mind?

by Marcel Mutoni

As you’ve surely guessed, we’re going to be talking about Kobe Bryant for a while.

Let’s take a look at what has transpired in the last few days:

-Ric Bucher goes on TV and says if the Lakers don’t bring in Jerry West, Kobe wants to be traded.

-Kobe, predictably, comes out and denies the trade demand.

-An article in yesterday’s LA Times says that a Laker “insider” blames Kobe for running Shaq out of town.

-Kobe reads said article and goes nuts. He then appears on a radio show in LA and calls Laker management a bunch of liars.

(There’s some interesting speculation as to who this “insider” is floating around the internets.)

-Shaq tells Stephen A. Smith that he believes Kobe “1000 percent” when he says that he had nothing to do with his departure from Los Angeles in 2004.

-Kobe appears on Stephen A. Smith’s radio show this morning, and sounding like someone who could break down at any moment, says that he wants to be traded from the Lakers. Bryant says that there’s absolutely nothing the Lakers could do to change his mind at this point.

(Keep in mind that Kobe — in what seems like an incredibly calculated move — is updating his personal website like crazy while all of this is going on.)

-The Lakers release a statement through the press saying they have yet to talk to Kobe about the trade demand.

-This afternoon, Kobe appears on Dan Patrick’s radio show and, more or less, says that he still wants to be a Laker.

Patrick: “So, what’s the next step for you?”

Bryant: “I’m so tired of talking…I always dreamed about retiring as a Laker…I just hope, I just hope, hope and hope, that something can be resolved, can be figured out, just something, so that I can stay here and be with the team that I love”

So, where does this leave us?

Personally, I don’t think Kobe is going anywhere. There’s no way the Lakers can get anything of equal value for him; just look at what happened last time they traded away a franchise player.

Once Jerry Buss gets out of the slammer, I see him begging Jerry West to come back to the organization. What other choice does he have? Can you imagine how bad he and the Lakers would look if they got rid of both Kobe and Shaq within the same decade and got almost nothing in return?

Once again, Kobe Bryant is arguably the most powerful athlete in all of sports. Who else could get away with this? The Lakers have no choice but to make him happy now.

It’s Kobe’s world, we’re all just paying taxes.