The Lakers have been surrounded by more trade rumors than nearly any other team this season, and it seems that nearly every player on the team is untouchable. That is, every player other than Kobe Bryant. Right?
According to ESPN’s Ric Bucher that might not be the case.
During an appearance on SportsCenter on Tuesday, Bucher stated his belief that the Lakers should explore trading Bryant. Yes, you read that right.
Now, Bucher’s reasoning is mostly financial, stating that the team is facing a steep luxury tax in the next few years, and that by clearing Bryant’s contract off the books they can look to make a splash in free agency next summer.
However, even if the team was interested in trading Bryant (which I assure you they are not), they wouldn’t receive enough value in return to make the trade worthwhile. Bryant is still performing at a high level, and is even contending for the MVP award this season.
I’m all for improving the team at any cost, and even wrote about how I felt the Lakers needed to consider going after LeBron James instead of re-signing Bryant following the team’s victory over the Celtics in the NBA Finals, but the simple fact is the team isn’t going to trade the face of their franchise for the last 16 years, and one of the most popular players in franchise history, to try and free up some cap space. Especially when Bryant is still putting up the numbers he currently is.
To make this scenario even more unlikely, Bryant has a no-trade clause in his contract, and would have to agree to any trade the Lakers try and make.
To watch the complete SportsCenter segment with Bucher’s thoughts, see below.