Friday, June 13, 2014

Insane Theory: Kobe and Pau Will Go to the New York Knicks

Could this variant 2K10 cover become a reality after all?
When Rick Fox, in his interview with Larry King, said that he thinks Kobe will go to New York if he really thinks that is the best place for him to win another championship, I started thinking about how likely or sensible that would be.   At first, it sounded real absurd to me.  But as I continue to contemplate about it, the scenario started to look a little less crazy and have some plausibility.    

Let’s have a little thought experiment…

It will all start with the Knicks signing Pau Gasol at a discount this off-season.  If the Knicks ever get to sign Pau Gasol,  there will now be three guys in the Knicks organization that have been Kobe’s comrades in winning championships for the Lakers: Pau, Phil Jackson (the Knicks’ new chief executive), and Derek Fisher (which has been recently recruited by Phil to be the Knicks’ new head coach).   Kobe immensely likes and respects these three.  For Kobe, they are people who know how to win championships.    

Now, if the Lakers fail to assemble a team that can contend for the championship, and knowing Kobe’s impatience and hardheadedness, this might lead to Kobe demanding again to be traded.  He would look at Gasol, Jackson, and Fisher there with the Knicks and might see it as the desirable place to be, for he will be around people that, for him, have already proven to be capable of winning.   

That’s just how Kobe thinks. This is the guy who refuses to talk to a teammate until he has proven himself a winner.  This is the guy who would prefer to trade Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd back in ’05.  This is the guy that would loudly demand a trade when unsatisfied and in doubt of management’s dedication to win.  Kobe is a smart guy, but when it comes to this stuff, his impatience and emotions get the better of him – he won’t be able to think with some forethought.    

Kobe won’t consider the fact that Jackson is an unproven, rookie executive; Fisher is an unproven, rookie coach; and Pau is no longer in his prime.  He would see them as guys that had won championships with him.  And that’ll be enough for him to believe that these guys still have what it takes to win again.  This presumption would make the Knicks a very desirable place for him to go. 

More so if Carmelo Anthony is convinced to stay with the Knicks.  Kobe likes Carmelo.  Going to the Knicks will become more attractive for Kobe because of ‘Melo.  This could also work the other way.  Carmelo, brought into the knowledge that the Knicks will trade for Kobe, might readily decide to stay.     
Of course, the Lakers won’t really trade Kobe Bryant no matter how strongly he demands it.  This has happened before; they had opted to keep him, and after a season or two later, they won the championship again.  Still, if the Lakers see that the only card left to play to become contenders again is to trade Kobe, they would do it.  Both parties will get what they want.  Maybe the Lakers would realize that for them to get Carmelo Anthony/LeBron James and Kevin Love/Kyrie Irving, there will be a need to let Kobe’s contract go.  Maybe choose to trade Kobe for Carmelo (via sign-and-trade) or, if they don’t want ‘Melo, some of ‘Melo’s teammates that would be waived later.   Or they can choose to keep ‘Melo and pair him with Love/Kyrie… or proceed to waive ‘Melo (and the Knicks will pick him up again) and go for LeBron and Love/Irving (or a multi-team deal, involving trading Kobe to New York, that will have the same effect).  I’m bad at these technicalities, so pardon me.  The point is: a desperate Laker front office would trade Kobe to the Knicks if he asks for it and if it’s the only option that will significantly benefit the organization’s own rebuilding.    

These are merely insane speculations, of course, in my part.  And it’s very interesting to think of it happening, actually (in fact, it’s not the first time I’ve thought of Kobe joining the Knicks).  Still, as a Laker fan, my primary preference is always for Kobe to retire as a Laker.  Also with Pau.  If they will win another championship, I would love them to do it in purple and gold.

But I have to admit.  My loyalty will have a very complicated dilemma if Kobe and Pau will go to the Knicks.  Kobe was a major reason how I became a Laker fan.  I also have great fondness for Pau Gasol, Phil Jackson, and Derek Fisher – they were among the Laker personalities that I had developed affection for since they were significant contributors during the Lakers’ glory days.   Another major reason I began to love the Lakers is because of their legacy and history.  But they were, in a way, anchored on the great Dr. Jerry Buss, but with him now dead, his son and successor, Jim Buss, has never proven yet that he is capable of living up to and continuing that legacy.  If Kobe leaves the Lakers, the only worthwhile Laker personalities that will be left on the organization will be Mitch Kupchak and Jeanie Buss.  And I don’t have enough affection for them to keep me completely loyal to the Lakers.  Sure, I will remain a Laker fan.  But I’ll probably be rooting for both Lakers and Knicks.  I will have my loyalties split. 
That’s why I hope that Kobe and Pau will not go to the Knicks.  And this insane theory will be just that… an insane theory.  I don’t want it to be an actual reality.  I don’t want to be put in that situation wherein I will have my loyalty to the Lakers challenged. 

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