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The Bulls Won't Be Landing Kobe Anytime Soon

By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 30, 2007 3:00PM

The sports media has been abuzz since ESPN's Ric Bucher reported that L.A. Laker guard Kobe Bryant suggested during an interview that he wanted to be traded if the Lakers didn't lure former GM Jerry West back to the organization. A day later, Kobe refuted that assertion, but the rumor mills continue to swirl about whether the Lakers' prima donna wants out.

2007_05_sports_kobe_bryant.jpgIf this sounds familiar, it could be because Kobe's done this before. Following the 2004 season, he forced the Buss family to choose between him Shaquille O'Neal, and between him and Phil Jackson. In order to re-sign Bryant, they traded Shaq and made Jackson walk away. The Lakers haven't been close to competing for another NBA title -- even after Kobe came to his senses and agreed to play for Jackson once again. Kobe's been pointing fingers at management, who he believes hasn't done a good job of surrounding him with the talent he needs to win.

Before re-signing with the Lakers in 2004, Bryant flirted with the crosstown Clippers as well as with the Bulls. In light of the recent rumors that Bryant wants out, the New York Post's Peter Vecsey reports that Kobe let Lakers management know he'd allow a trade to one team. Vecsey believes that team is, again, the Bulls.

But Chicagoist isn't going to let ourselves get drawn into fantasies Kobe in a red jersey. Even if Kobe really does want out of L.A, and even if he does want to play for the Bulls, we just don't see how such a deal could be worked out.

Bryant's contract will pay him about $17.7 million next season. Because both the Bulls and Lakers are over the salary cap, the dollars traded have to be nearly identical. The problem is that even if the teams could agree on a package of players, the Bulls have no large salaries, no massive expiring contracts, etc. that they can use to match up the dollars -- just try to come up with a workable trade! In order to land Kobe, the Bulls would have to send off nearly their entire core of young players. Or trade Ben Wallace. We just don't see Bulls GM John Paxson doing that.

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