Monday , Jun , 18 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Kobe Bryant Trade On Hold According To Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are apparently in no rush to trade Kobe Bryant … According to statements the purple-and-gold still see Bryant as their “cornerstone” and have little interest in moving him … But is this a ploy to create more of a market for #24? … Read this story and get your analysis here …

ESPN reports that the Los Angeles Lakers have little interest in trading Kobe Bryant:

While there seems little doubt Kobe Bryant wants out of Los Angeles, the Lakers don’t appear ready to make a move.

  "I think we’ve made our position clear on that publicly and we have nothing further to say on the matter at this time," team spokesman John Black said Monday.

Black referred to a statement issued by team owner Jerry Buss on May 30, which said in part: "We will continue to pursue every avenue possible to improve our team with [Bryant] as the cornerstone."

Buss issued the statement after speaking with Bryant. The day before, Bryant first said he wanted to be traded during a radio interview, but seemed to backtrack on another interview after speaking with Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

Buss and Bryant met face-to-face last Friday in Barcelona, and while the Los Angeles Times and Riverside Press-Enterprise quoted sources as saying Bryant still wanted out, Black declined comment other than to say: "Our position is what was said at that meeting between the two of them will remain between the two of them."

Buss, owner of the Lakers since 1979, recently sent a letter to season ticket-holders regarding the team’s desire to be successful.

"We received about 1,000 e-mails expressing concerns, opinions and frustrations," Black said. "Dr. Buss wanted to address the matter himself."

Buss said, among other things, that the Lakers had made the playoffs in 26 of his 28 years as owner, but added: "We all want more."

 "Our goal has been, and remains to be, to build the Lakers into a team that can regularly compete for championships," he said. "I believe that we have always shown a willingness to do what needs to be done and spend what needs to be spent to deliver you championship caliber basketball. We remain committed to that philosophy."

Bryant’s name was not mentioned in the letter.

Meanwhile, the entry Bryant reposted Sunday on his Web site from late last month regarding his desire to be traded had been taken down by Monday. The only current item on the site,, was a series of comments from Bryant’s fans.

Several messages left for Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka, weren’t returned, and Chris Raih, the managing director of Zambezi Ink, the ad agency that created and maintains, declined comment.

Bryant, who turns 29 in August, is owed $88.6 million for the four years he has left on the seven-year, $136.4 million contract he signed July 15, 2004. A nine-time All-Star, he enters next season as the two-time defending NBA scoring champion.

My Quick Take: There’s no ideal time to trade . This transaction under the best of circumstances would be extremely tough for the Lakers-consider matching Bryant’s enormous salary and skill level with another team.

The Buss family can’t receive equal value for #24 because it doesn’t exist. Bryant, despite all his quirks, is as talented as Michael Jordan. There’s no comparable asset(s) in the entire NBA.

Now think about the circumstances. Everyone in the world, including all the GMs and front office execs, knows Bryant wants a trade. What was essentially impossible-getting equal value for Bryant-just became even more complicated for the Lakers because they are operating in a buyer’s market.

So L.A. is trying to accomplish one of two things with today’s statement:

1) They now have some time to try and convince Bryant to stay. This is a long shot. If they fail …

2) The Lakers are hoping they’ve bought enough time to get back some leverage and create more of a seller’s market for Bryant’s services.

Want more coverage on Kobe Bryant’s second trade demand? Check out:

-Kobe Bryant & Los Angeles Lakers past Point Of No Return

-You Vote: Trade Kobe Bryant Or Trade The Buss Family?

-Kobe Bryant Not Mentioned In Letter To Laker Season Ticket Holders

-Kobe Bryant’s Updated Web Statement Confirms Second trade Demand

Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog.