Thursday , Jul , 12 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Kobe Bryant Won’t Address Future, Forces L.A. Lakers To Consider Trades

Kobe Bryant has come under fire for refusing to address his future with the purple-and-gold … But by playing coy, the superstar is forcing the Lakers to upgrade the talent around him … What do you think of Bryant’s strategy? … Click here for news and analysis

Steve Dilbeck comments on Bryant’s situation in L.A.:

First you couldn’t get Kobe Bryant to shut up. Now you can’t get him to say a word about his future.

This is called doing the right thing at the wrong time, which I suppose beats continuing to do the wrong thing. Although it’s close.

Just a simple clarification is all that’s asked:

Kobe, do you want to be traded or not?

Real basic like. Real simple.

Only Kobe wouldn’t go there Wednesday at a Nike function to announce the shoe and apparel company’s plans to build numerous playgrounds throughout Los Angeles.

"I just want to have a good time today," he said. "I’ve spoken so much on the issue already. I mean, for me to say anything else … there’s not that much more for me to say.

"I’m just kind of moving on from it right now."

Let’s see, would that be moving on from the radio show on which he demanded to be traded or the one an hour later when he claimed his undying love to the franchise and desire to end his career a Laker?

Or would it be one of those where his ESPN peeps are relaying messages?

Since he did not zip it when he should have and continued in Byzantine radio rants more confusing than our exit strategy, Kobe now owes it to his many local fans to be clear about what it is he really wants.

But it was nothing doing Wednesday in his brief press conference. Kobe has closed it down at exactly the moment he needs to open up and be clear.

Just tell us so we understand, what is your current situation?

"If you want, you can call Mitch (Kupchak) up, call those guys up and talk to them about it," Kobe said. "I’m not going to beat a dead horse in the head anymore. Just because too much has been said already. I don’t want to get into it no more."

I followed him to the parking lot after the press conference because, you know, Kobe gives some of his best interviews to strangers with digital cameras.

Still, no clarification was coming.

My Quick Take: I agree with Dilbeck. Bryant owes it to his fans to clarify his future with the Lakers.

No press conferences or radio interviews are necessary. Kobe would only have to answer one question: in or out?

Dilbeck’s opinion, while fair, is unrealistic. Right now, Bryant and the Lakers are playing hi-stakes poker. It’s the final hand; all the marbles are in the pot. Here’s the problem: #24 doesn’t benefit from showing his cards.

Consider Bryant’s perspective. He wants a real sidekick-a legitimate Robin. His trade demand created a sense of urgency in Laker-land, forcing the club to chase superstars like Kevin Garnett.

If Bryant rescinds his trade demand, the Lakers’ front office hits the snooze button and goes back on vacation. After all, California is lovely this time of year.

Bryant can kiss The Big Ticket goodbye. He can forget about Jermaine O’Neal. And he’ll pass Steve Francis in the StapleCenter halls when The Franchise signs with the Clippers.

Coming clean with his intentions is counterproductive to Bryant’s long-term interests. His trade demand, right or wrong, fair or not, forces the Lakers to upgrade his supporting cast.

Still, Dilbeck is right. In an ideal world, Bryant would address his future. However, Kobe-fans will forgive-and-forget if playing coy lands another superstar.

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