Friday , Dec , 14 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Why Kobe Bryant Is Now Happy With L.A. Lakers

The inevitable trade is now on hold and may never happen. Today, Bryant expressed his happiness with teammates, but refused to withdraw his trade demand because he would be endorsing the front office and Buss family …

ESPN’s The Magazine reports on Kobe Bryant softening his trade demands:

It’s time to do away with the image of Kobe Bryant playing under protest. After completing a Lakers practice Wednesday afternoon, Bryant said he’s glad he hasn’t been traded.

"I’m happy to be here," Bryant said. "My guys and I — we have such a tight bond. Business and basketball sometimes can cloud things, but when you get here in your element and you’re around your teammates and just having a good time with them and thinking about them and not about the business of the game, that’s when it becomes fun."

Bryant wouldn’t go as far as to rescind the well-publicized trade demand he made in May. When asked if he no longer wanted the Lakers to trade him, he essentially gave a no comment, saying, "I don’t get into that stuff."

My Quick Take: For months, the Lakers seemed on the verge of doing the unthinkable and unloading superstar Kobe Bryant.

After all, Staples Center had become a zoo of dysfunction, where Bryant’s complaints were recorded on fan’s cell phone cameras and the owner’s son left messages about the team on his myspace page.

The inevitable trade is now on hold and may never happen. Today, Bryant expressed his happiness with teammates, but refused to withdraw his trade demand because he would be endorsing the front office and Buss family.

Still, it’s about baby steps with Bryant. Several factors have come together to change his opinion on staying in Los Angeles.

Bryant knows no trade is on the horizon. A deal is too complicated. The Lakers have to get equal value for Mamba-something that’s not possible. Bryant, because of his no trade clause, must approve the deal. And another team must step-up and assume Bryant’s hefty contract.

The Lakers have shaken off a terrible pre-season and been a pleasant surprise out west. Derek Fisher has stabilized the one-spot, Andrew Bynum has made major strides, and the bench is deep.

And Phil Jackson recommitted to the club by signing a two year extension. So Bryant doesn’t have to establish a relationship with a new coach.

In the end, Bryant realizes L.A. is his best option. Of course, he still holds the Ace of Spades and can opt-out of his contract in two seasons to become an unrestricted free agent.

Will Bryant stay in L.A. long-term? Get at us in the comment box below or hit us up in HoopsVibe’s new fan forum at http://www.hoopsvibe.com/forum. 

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