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Rumor Talk: Kobe Bryant and the Dallas Mavericks

OK, an ungodly amount of people are getting to this site by searching for some combination of the words "Kobe" and "Dallas" so I figure I should probably touch on it.

Here are facts.

Back in May, Kobe said he wanted to be traded. Nothing much came of it besides speculation until October 11th when Jerry Buss said the Lakers would explore a Kobe Bryant trade.

"I would certainly listen," Buss said. "At any time, I think you have to do that with anybody. It's just part of the game, to listen to somebody who has a dissatisfied player that you think is going to fit. You can't keep too many loyalties. You've got to look at it as a business. He looks at it the same way I look at it."
The Lakers have never said that they no longer want Kobe, or that they are actively shopping him around.

A few days later on October 15th, Mark Cuban was asked about Kobe Bryant and said that he "would certainly listen" to offers. Cuban later expanded on that.

To recap, Cuban says that nobody from the Mavs has spoken with the Lakers, but that obviously Kobe is really good so why not consider it? This is what I would hope any owner or GM would say. Is there anyone who wouldn't want Kobe?

The rumors really started to heat up on Tuesday the 16th. Word leaked out of LA that Kobe, who has not been practicing with the team because of a "sore knee" had cleaned out his locker. Kobe broke his media silence to deny this report(video).

Those are the facts, these are the rumors.

Two teams are constantly linked with Kobe despite any confirmation from those teams that they are trying to work out a trade. The first of those teams are the Chicago Bulls, who most believe have the best mix of players, salary, and draft picks to complete a trade. They are also in the Eastern Conference where you would assume the Lakers would want Kobe to end up if they were to trade him.

The other team constantly connected to all of this is the Dallas Mavericks. The connection here is harder to make, but it really seems to stem from an outdated reputation that the Mavs are always looking to make big trades (like in the first years of Cuban's ownership). For the last two seasons, the Mavs have taken a completely different attitude, saying they already have a team good enough to win it all and only need to make small changes. Cuban is also the only owner or GM to publicly say they would consider Kobe. The one actual link between Kobe and Dallas is that according to Marc Stein, Kobe Bryant (who has the only no trade clause in the NBA) has Dallas as his team of choice.

The thing that is missing from Dallas rumors is the players involved. Because of the contracts Dallas has and their position over the salary cap, a trade with the Lakers would be very hard to pull off. Dirk wouldn't be a part of any deal, not only because that would defeat the purpose, but because Donnie Nelson has said the Mavs have never considered trading him. Trenton Hassell, Brandon Bass, Devean George, Eddie Jones, and Jerry Stackhouse cannot be trade until December 15th.

Devin Harris is a "poison pill" because of the extension he signed to his rookie contract this offseason. Josh Howard is a base year player because he's in the first year of his extension. I briefly touched on what that means in the comments of this diary. To make a very long story, very short, it is really difficult to include base year and poison pill players in a trade between two teams who are both over the cap.

Erick Dampier and Jason Terry both have big contracts, but neither is very attractive. And on, and on...

Anyway, don't get your hopes up.