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Could Kobe Bryant Really Be Traded?

10/16/2007

The collective bargaining agreement would make it extremely tricky, right? But ESPN Insider Chad Ford has examined the possibilities and spells out (Insider) how Bryant could go to Chicago, Washington, Phoenix, Atlanta, Memphis, or a few other teams.

The Chicago packages, as described by Ford:

Option 1: Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Joakim Noah, Viktor Khryapa and Adrian Griffin.
(View the deal in our Trade Machine.)

This deal would work, even though Hinrich is a base-year compensation player.

It would give the Lakers a new backcourt and a player in Noah with the personality and star appeal to thrive in L.A.

But would the Bulls lose too much? Who would play point guard for them? Would a combo of Bryant, Deng and Ben Wallace trump Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in the East?

Option 2: Ben Gordon, Joakim Noah, Viktor Khryapa, Adrian Griffin, P.J. Brown (in a sign-and-trade) and two first-round draft picks.

This deal probably would work better for the Bulls. They would have a core that would make them the favorites to win the East.

The question is whether it would be enough for the Lakers. Gordon and Noah are nice pieces, but the draft picks would likely be low first-rounders. Adding Brown (in a deal that would allow the Lakers to release him after Year 1) would give them roughly $14 million in cap relief next summer. But with Gordon looking for a long-term extension, he could make much of those savings go away.

Note: The Bulls could throw in Andres Nocioni to sweeten the deal, but he can't be traded until mid-December per league free agent rules. And of course, players like Chris Duhon and Tyrus Thomas could be used in other versions of the options above.

Also, a very interesting Jay Mariotti column from the Sun-Times a couple of days ago essentially instructing the Bulls to go get Kobe Bryant.