The basketball world continues to wait, with bated breath, to find out what Lebron James will decide this summer. Does he opt out, and test free agency? Does he return to Miami at a discount, allowing the Heat some cap flexibility? Or does he opt in for one more year, only to revisit the same decisions a year from now. But I’m not going to talk about that. Because I have figured out a way for Kobe Bryant to potentially win his 6th ring. A ring that’s very important to Bryant, because it would give him as much jewelry as Michael Jordan.
The catch, and Laker fans will hate this, but they’ll have to trade Kobe Bean Bryant. A Laker for 18 season, who was widely criticized for the pricey extension he signed with the Lakers this past season, could do more to help the team by requesting a trade than he can do by playing out his remaining years. No matter how good he is upon his return from injuries, his contract has the Lakers handcuffed for the next two seasons.
I realize trading an icon like Kobe would upset the fan base, and generally I hate the idea of seeing icons change teams. While we like to pretend it’s a newer phenomenon, it simply isn’t. We saw Michael Jordan in a Wizards uniform and we saw Karl Malone in a Laker uniform. Patrick Ewing went on to Seattle and then Orlando, and Hakeem Olajuwon finished his career in Toronto.
So here’s the trade:
The Lakers trade Kobe Bryant to the New York Knicks and in return, they receive both A’mare Stoudemire and Andrew Bargnani.
I get it, you think this sounds like a horrible trade. Why would the Lakers want those two bums? Well, I can’t say they’d want them, but here are a couple of reasons why they should. First of all, it makes them worse. What, they should want to get worse? Absolutely. Getting this bad is a great move. Unless there’s a miracle, the 2014-15 Lakers should be the worst in the NBA. That guarantees them a top four pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. And the real keys to this trade are the expiring contracts of both Stoudemire and Bargnani. Trading Kobe allows the Lakers to free up $36 million for the 2015 season. When, potentially, Lebron James could be a free agent as well as Kyrie Irving. The Lakers could afford both of them, team them up with two recent lottery picks and still have plenty of cap space to fill out a competitive roster.
And here is why Kobe Bryant should want to be traded to the Knicks. He would be reunited with Phil Jackson, who is now team President. He would be playing for his good friend, and first year coach, Derek Fisher and alongside his buddy, Carmelo Anthony. But wait, there’s more. Derek, Phil and Kobe could basically get the band back together. Pau Gasol is a free agent, and could sign with the Knicks for the veteran minimum. Lamar Odom, who finished last season with the Knicks, could also sign for the veteran minimum. The Knicks are rumored to have an interest in Spurs back-up point guard, Patty Mills.
Potentially, the 2014-15 Knicks starting lineup could be:
Along with a bench that would include Iman Shumpert, JR Smith and Lamar Odom. They probably wouldn’t win 55 games, but no one wants to see that team in the playoffs.