Veteran NBA reporter Sam Smith, who currently writes for the Chicago Bulls, has some interesting thoughts on Kobe Bryant's future. Assuming that Kobe does not want to stay in Los Angeles for two more years, Smith began laying out some trade scenarios involving the future Hall of Famer. Included in his list were the Knicks, the Cavaliers and … the Wizards? Yep, Kobe Bryant to the Washington Wizards. Smith has the whole thing planned out:
But as much as Lakers' fans believe it’s about Kobe, Lakers’ management would have to jump at a chance for a young star to accelerate their rebuilding. Which is why Kobe to the Wizards may be the one. The Wizards have a young, potential star shooting guard in Bradley Beal. You can build with a player like him. Then you give the Lakers Nene and another player since the Wizards have plenty of guys they’re not much using to include in trade. For the Wizards, it’s the chance to take a shot, which they really don’t have now. With the addition of Paul Pierce, the Wizards are about now. Adding someone like Kobe with Pierce, John Wall and Marcin Gortat gives them a shot at the top of the weak East. And how sweet would it be for Kobe to go where Michael Jordan couldn’t win and get somewhere? Kobe’s not getting that sixth title. Maybe besting Jordan that way would appeal to him.
Yeah … no. Kobe Bryant
to the Wizards just doesn't make sense, for a multitude of reasons. First of all, Smith's proposed trade of Beal and Nene for Kobe doesn't work financially. He seems to forget that Kobe's $23.5 million albatross of a contract makes him extremely difficult to move. Giving up another player would further cripple the Wizards' depth, and they likely wouldn't receive anyone of use in addition to Kobe. The trade would be a lot messier than just a simple three player swap.The trade would also cripple the Wizards' future flexibility. In addition to losing Beal, one of the best young guards in the league and a cornerstone type player, the Wizards would be committing a lot of money for two seasons of Kobe.
Smith argues that the trade would give the Wizards a shot at the East crown, which apparently they don't have now. But does adding Kobe really get them that much closer? It's not like the Wizards are right on the cusp of title contention and shooting guard is their one weakness. The team is 5-2, and that's without Beal. Maybe we should see how the team does with Beal actually on the court before making those types of assessments. Furthermore, adding Bryant doesn't necessarily make the Wizards the favorites in the East. Kobe, Wall, Pierce, and Gortat are a strong top four, but it not like the Wizards are pairing a prime Kobe with a prime Pierce. The two are a combined 73 years old, and they would hardly be a strong defensive duo on the wing. It's like loading your fantasy team with guys like Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Tim Duncan and assuming you'll have the best team based on name value.
You can argue that Beal is a better fit for the Wizards not only in the future, but this season. Kobe is averaging 26.5 PPG this season, but he's also shooting 40% from the field and attempting 24 shots per game. He's a ball-dominant guard who loves to shoot, and that's not going to change if he goes to another team. The Wizards' offense is based on Wall as the lead guard using his speed, passing skills, and court vision to create for his teammates. Kobe doesn't really fit into that equation. Beal is 16 years younger than Kobe, he's a more efficient shooter at this point, he has continuity with the team, and he's proven that he can be effective playing alongside Wall.
Smith argues that the Wizards are in win-now mode, but that isn't really how their roster is set up. They have veterans like Pierce, Nene, and Andre Miller, but the core of this team is Wall, Beal, and Otto Porter. There is a difference between being able to win now and needing to win now. The Wizards want to maintain future flexibility while developing their young trio, all the while keeping themselves an attractive destination for free agent to be and DC native Kevin Durant.
As for Smith's claim that winning with the Wizards would be a way for Kobe to stick it to Jordan, it's kind of a false equivalence. It's comparing apples to oranges; the rosters are completely different, so it's not like Jordan couldn't win with Wall and Pierce and Kobe has a chance to do something Jordan couldn't. If Kobe is going to surpass Jordan, it'll be on the scoring list, not by making the Eastern Conference Finals with the Wizards.
Kobe himself has said that he isn't going to be traded,
and he has a no-trade clause, so a move doesn't seem likely at all, at least for now. And even if he does get traded, it won't be to Washington
. The Wizards are fine; they aren't giving up a 21 year old future All-Star in a misguided attempt to win now. Especially not with Kevin Durant's impending free agency.
Seeing your team play in the SuperBowl is priceless. Watching the SuperBowl live in the stands for $1 per week is beyond priceless. Find out how at TicketScore.com, the future of Championship Tickets. Read more... Join the Conversation...