Since the end of last season, Kobe’s on again, off again trade demands have been the forefront of any discussion regarding the NBA. Many destinations have been bandied about by the media, and most of them seem illogical for both the Lakers and the possible destination. For example, Dallas would likely have to trade Dirk. Both teams would essentially just be swapping stars. Neither team would improve substantially. The Bulls would have to surrender at least 3 of their young players: Deng, Gordon, Thomas, Noah, and Hinrich. By doing this, what would be left for Kobe to work with? An aging and one dimensional Wallace and some role players. Hardly any improvement over the current Lakers.
Really, the best option would be for Kobe to come to the Hawks. The primary piece we’d have to give up would be Joe Johnson (and I’m a huge fan of Joe). A package of something Like This would net the Lakers a proven All Star in Joe, a wing player that compliments the passing of Odom and Joe in Childress and a scoring point guard in Speedy (Lue or AJ could go in his place). We’d likely have to throw in a 2009/10 draft pick (since Phoenix owns our 2008 pick) but that would give the Lakers more depth without sacrificing too much. (Let’s face it, it’s going to be impossible for them to “win” any trade they make). The Lakers offense is a good fit for both Childress and Joe, allowing them to move without the ball and use their size and passing ability in the triangle offense.
This would give the Hawks starting 5 of:
And a bench that includes a veteran PG, ZaZa, Shelden, and Salim would arguably make this the deepest team Kobe has played with.
Kobe, however, would have to approve a trade to Atlanta as he has a no-trade clause in his contract effectively allowing him to choose his destination. So why would he want to come here:
(1) Playing in the diluted Eastern Conference would give him the best chance to return to the NBA finals.
(2) He’d be coming to what some call “Black Hollywood” and would be the biggest African American star in a predominantly African American city. He could rub elbows with Outkast, Jermaine DuPri, and a host of other celebrities that live here.
(3) He’d be an instant fan phenomenon selling jerseys, shoes, and tickets (much like Vick did before his numerous issues). He’d be treated as a Messiah of sorts, the first real hardwood star in 15 years (since ‘Nique).
(4) He’d be able to reestablish himself as a leader on a competitive team.
(5) He’d be allowed to flourish in the new up-tempo offense instead of bogged down by Phil Jackson’s triangle.
(6) He would have more head to head battles with Shaq, Wade, and LeBron, which would feed his competitive desire and determination.
(7) He'd have an opportunity to play for a no-name coach. That would allow him to prove that his success was independent of his past/current pairing with a Hall of Fame coach.
Now, even though this makes a decent amount of sense, it will never happen. The ownership situation is still a mess and it’s unlikely they would all agree to such a trade. But I can hope, right?