To re-iterate, here are the criteria that a potential trade must satisfy for Kobe and the Lakers to both approve of it:
A) Kobe must be traded to a playoff team.
B) Lakers must receive a starter who can handle the ball.
C) Lakers must receive young talent.
D) Lakers must receive expiring contracts/unload undesireable contracts.
I decided to reword aspect D to take into account the value of moving a bad contract. Now, let's look at a couple less trite trade ideas, ones that don't involve the front-running Bulls or Mavericks.
Trade #3: Hawks trade Joe Johnson, Josh Childress, Lorenzen Wright, Acie Law IV, and Shelden Williams to Lakers for Kobe Bryant and Vladimir Radmanovic.
A) 1 point - While the Hawks were once again a lottery team last year, they keep stockpiling talent, and keep maturing. They've got playoff potential. Plus, Atlanta is very supportive of its athletes; I have to think Kobe can appreciate that.
B) 2 points - Joe Johnson can play either guard or small forward, and is a marquee player. He gets buried in Atlanta right now, but for the Lakers he'd be a big deal.
C) 2 points - Childress, Law, and Williams are all very young and talented.
D) 2 points - Almost $7 million comes off the books next year between Childress and Wright. More than that, however, Radmanovic's $20+ million over the next 4 years gets shipped out of town.
Total - 7 points, it's a little unconventional because of how bad the Hawks have been, but in my heart, I think it would work.
Trade #4: Knicks trade Jamal Crawford, Eddy Curry, Nate Robinson, and Fred Jones to Lakers for Kobe Bryant and Vladimir Radmanovic.
A) 1 point - The Knicks seem somewhat improved, and a starting five of Marbury, Bryant, Quentin Richardson, David Lee, and Zach Randolph seems like it could work.
B) 2 points - Both Crawford and Robinson have ball handling skills.
C) 2 points - Curry, while turnover-prone, is talented offensively and still pretty young. Robinson is young as well.
D) 1 point - Again, Radmanovic's contract gets tossed, which is nice. Fred Jones also has $3.3 million expiring this season.
Total - 6 points, again, it's not a playoff team from last season, but a team that could be a 48-50 win team if this trade were to happen.
Trade #5: Celtics trade Paul Pierce, Brian Scalabrine, Glen Davis, and Tony Allen to Lakers for Kobe Bryant and Vladimir Radmanovic.
A) 2 points - Nobody questions that the Celtics are ready to compete.
B) 2 points - While not everyone would be crazy about it, Pierce can handle the ball.
C) 1 points - Davis and Allen figure to not be prominent in Boston's rotation, but they could develop in the Lakers' system.
D) 1 point - Allen's $2 million contract expires, plus they unload Radmanovic (see a trend?). Scalabrine's contract negates about half of Radmanovic's, though.
Total - 6 points, another one that I couldn't realistically see happening, but it gives the Lakers a lot of potential pieces.
Trade #6: Suns trade Shawn Marion and Eric Piatkowski to Lakers; Lakers trade Kobe Bryant to Jazz; Jazz trade Andrei Kirilenko, Gordan Giricek, and Matt Harpring to Suns. ($8M trade exception used to acquire Harpring).
A) 2 points - Jazz? Yes.
B) 1 point - Piatkowski isn't a dream to handle the ball, but Marion is probably the best player they could hope for in any Kobe trade.
C) 1 point - Marion's not really young, but he's so good you have to give another point here.
D) 1 point - Marion's contract is $3M less and a year shorter than Kobe's, and Piatkowski is a free agent after this season.
Total - 5 points, I know, it's not "enough" points, but wouldn't this be the trade that would leave everyone involved pretty happy? The Suns get another defensive force in AK47, plus two flexible hustle guys in Harpring and Giricek. The Lakers get Marion, a perfect guy to build your team around because he can fit into so many roles. And the Jazz get Kobe, the scoring guard they haven't had since Jeff Hornacek.
In the end, the trade that happens will probably be a permutation of one of the deals with Chicago or Dallas, but it's fun to look at other possibilities. In the NBA, because salaries are such an important factor, they tend to dictate the deals that can happen. Also, there are a lot of trade restrictions in the NBA, preventing guys like Andres Nocioni, Morris Peterson, Darko Milicic, and Rashard Lewis from being traded until December 15th. My guess is Kobe gets traded between that date and Christmas, when so many guys fall back into the realm of "trade bait."
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