Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Lakers- Kobe is Responsible

[NBA] Kobe Bryant is responsible for everything that has happened with the Lakers this off-season. Mitch Kupchak made clear that re-signing Kobe is their top priority. If Kobe told management that he wouldn't sign unless Jackson and Shaq returned as well, I'm sure both would have been taken care of long ago. Obviously, the opposite has happened and Kobe has let Jerry Buss know that he doesn't want either of them around next season. That is really disappointing.

A few years ago, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf sided with GM Jerry Krause and broke up the Chicago dynasty. The franchise has yet to recover. Will this be a repeat?

What's done is done. The question now is, did Lakers owner Jerry Buss make the right choice? Is there a better chance of winning with Kobe or with Phil Jackson and Shaq?

Mark Heisler: "Bryant is more competitive, works harder and should extend his prime into his 30s. O'Neal's is over with no assurance he'll do the work and avoid the injuries to stay at this level."

BIll Plaschke: "The league has a handful of Kobes, maybe not in the final two minutes, but certainly in the course of a season, and none of them are capable of winning a championship by themselves. There is only one Shaq."

Tim Kawakami: "Yes, I'd take Bryant, fiercely focused and a Staples Center obsession at 25, over an increasingly pudgy (and salary-cap-squashing) O'Neal at 32."

Michael Wilbon: "Why not consider dealing [Kobe] to Orlando ... for Tracy McGrady? If Kobe agreed, I'd make that move in a heartbeat ... I'd explore getting Allen Iverson, plus a little something to sweeten the deal, from Philly."

Sam Smith: "O'Neal already is missing 15-20 games per season with injury and conditioning issues. Plus, as his lowest-scoring playoff performance since his rookie season showed, he has reached basketball middle age."