Wednesday , May , 30 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Report: Bryant wants out of LA

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant has reportedly asked to be
traded from the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Times, citing numerous sources, reported the nine-time All-
Star’s trade request and Bryant also told ESPN Radio’s Stephen A. Smith that
he wants a trade.

“I would like to be traded,” Bryant said. “As tough as it is to say that, as
tough as it is to come to that conclusion, there’s no other alternative. They
obviously want to move in a different direction in terms of rebuilding. I wish
they would have told me that prior to re-signing me.”

The 28-year-old Bryant still has four years and nearly $89 million left on a
seven-year contract he signed in 2004, but has butted heads with Los Angeles
general manager Mitch Kupchak over the inability to garner more talent for the
franchise.

“I could have went to a team like the Los Angeles Clippers that had a lot
more talent,” Bryant told Smith. “I chose to stay here because of the
promises that they made in terms of building the team. If I knew that they
weren’t going to be aggressive in getting a Baron Davis, in getting a
Carlos Boozer. That would have changed things drastically, but I didn’t
ask for this, certainly no.”

The Lakers issued a response Wednesday afternoon.

“We are aware of the media reports,” Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss said in a
statement. “However, Kobe has not told us directly that he wants to be traded.
We have made it very clear that we are building our team around Kobe and that
we intend for him to be a Laker his entire career. We will speak directly to
Kobe and until we do that, we will not comment publicly about this.”

The Lakers have not won a playoff series since trading Shaquille O’Neal in
July of 2004 and were eliminated by the Phoenix Suns in just five games this
season.

Bryant has averaged 24.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 784 career
games with the Lakers and has been a part of three world championship teams.

To be moved, Bryant would have to waive a no-trade clause and would apparently
be more than willing do so.

“At this point I’ll go play on Pluto right now,” Bryant said. “I just want
to work hard. I just want to play, enjoy the game of basketball.”

LAL