In case you haven't heard, Kobe Bryant has decided that he really wants to be traded from the Lakers. Now he could change his mind, which he has done over and over during the past two months, but let's work under the assumption that he will be traded by the Lakers. Should the Pistons look at him? OF COURSE!
I realize that a lot of people outside L.A. don't like Kobe and I can completely understand. I don't really like him that much either, however, I enjoy championships and if Kobe could bring the Pistons a title or two I think I could find a place in my heart for #24 (McDyess will have to change his number for this to work....unless Kobe wants to change it again). So I decided to go over to ESPN's Trade Machine and give it a whirl and come up with some trade scenarios that would put Kobe in the Red, White and Blue for the 2007-08 season. Let the crazy speculation begin!
Rasheed Wallace ($11.6) and Nazr Mohammed ($5.2) for Kobe Bryant ($17.7)
(All dollar amounts are in the millions, but since you're not an idiot you already knew that right?)
Mitch Kupchak is pretty stupid (see: Shaq trade) but I don't think he's this stupid. Obviously the Pistons would have to throw in one or both of their first round picks this year in this deal, but that's not even enough. This would get rid of two problem people for Detroit (Rasheed for his stupidity, and Nazr for his being a giant pile of crap) and give them arguably the league's best player. This would create kind of a logjam in the backcourt, and would leave the Pistons with no solid front court scoring option, but if the Lakers were stupid enough to make this trade, Dumars should immediately get the paper work to the league office before they could come to their senses.
Rip Hamilton ($9.1) and Nazr Mohammed($5.2) for Kobe Bryant ($17.7)
From a pure basketball standpoint this could be the best deal for the Pistons to make. They'd have to toss one or two picks in here as well, but they wouldn't really need them if they got this trade to go through. If the Pistons were able to make this deal and re-sign Chauncey they would be looking at this starting lineup of Chauncey, Kobe, Tayshaun, Rasheed, and either Maxiell or McDyess (depending on what kind of lineup you want to go with). That lineup is easily good enough to win the East and probably good enough to compete with the Spurs. This would be a better trade for the Lakers as Rip could slide into Kobe's spot and produce for them, but I still don't think they'd make this deal, though the Trade Machine doesn't account for the smell of desperation that may be coming from L.A. in the near future....
Chauncey Billups (Sign and Trade) and Nazr Mohammed ($5.2) for Kobe Bryant ($17.7)
For this trade to work Chauncey would obviously have to want to go to L.A, and also the Pistons would probably have to keep one of their two draft picks to use on a point guard. This is not the prettiest of trades on a pure basketball standpoint, as it would leave the Pistons without a point guard, but you could probably spin Rip into a point guard (Mike Bibby maybe?) in another deal to fix that problem. Another decent deal for the Lakers as they get Chauncey in return, though one has to ask how much of a market there is for him after this latest bad playoff performance.
You've probably noticed that I've tossed Nazr in all these trades, well since they traded Delfino already his contract is the best one to make the numbers work out. Now for my last one I've gone a little crazy....
Three Team Trade
- Pistons Get: Kobe Bryant ($17.7), Shawn Marion ($15), Maurice Evans ($1.6)
- Lakers Get: Rip Hamilton ($9.1), Rasheed Wallace ($11.6), Nazr Mohammed($5.2), Pistons #27 pick in draft
- Suns Get: Lamar Odom ($12.3), Lindsey Hunter ($2.2), Pistons #15 draft pick
So how many parades should we plan? Two? Three? Yes folks this trade does work under the salary cap. I threw in the draft picks myself where I thought they'd be going. The Suns may get both Detroit picks in this scenario, but those can go wherever. This solves the problems for all three teams. First, the Pistons make a move to get a younger more dynamic roster with Kobe and Marion, while getting rid of problem child Rasheed. The Lakers trade Kobe (something they didn't want to do, but had to) but are able to get pretty good value back for him in the form of Rip, Rasheed, and a draft pick. Sheed should be good for the last two years on his contract since he's playing for Phil Jackson who has a track record of reigning in head cases. The Suns in the meantime get rid of Marion who is having trouble coexisting with Amare Stoudamire, while getting a pretty good player in return in Odom who will help save them some money with the luxury tax. Could be quite an interesting deal if the three teams were willing to pull it.
Well there you have it. A few different scenarios to put Kobe in Detroit. Will it happen? Probably not, but at least it makes for a fun offseason of discussion....