- Chad Ford, Senior Writer, NBA Insider
On Monday, our ESPN.com panel debated what's going on with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Let's take it a step further today and explore exactly what L.A. could get in return for its superstar.
First, three points:
1. The Lakers aren't giving Bryant away. In other words, they won't take back another team's junk.
They need at least one All-Star-type player, young players with potential, draft picks and expiring contracts. I don't think Jerry Buss is in the mood for a fire sale.
2. Bryant's not going to approve a trade to a team that can't compete for a championship with him on the roster. So if the trade depletes a team, he's not going to approve it.
At the same time, I think we shouldn't get too hung up on what we think Bryant wants in terms of market size and other factors. Sure, in a perfect world, he'd love to play in New York. But the Knicks have little of value to give back in return. I think that Bryant is looking for a chance to win a title.
(One side point: I think both Bryant and Buss would prefer that Bryant go to the East. But that's not set in stone if the right deal comes along.)
Bryant makes roughly $19.5 million this season, and any team over the cap that does a deal with L.A. has to get within 25 percent and $100,000 of that amount to make it happen.
Given these three points, it won't be easy to trade Bryant. Only a few teams have what it takes to get him.
Who are they? Here are the five teams that have the best shot at landing Bryant, based on the criteria above.
If the Lakers part ways with Kobe Bryant, here are the leading places where he could be dealt, Chad Ford writes.