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Yep, he did, 1 year, $1.1 million. I cannot wait for the season to start, it is going to be amazing.

Miami's definitely asserted themselves as the strongest team in the east. I'm sure Detroit and Indiana will have something to say about that, but for the first time in a long time, the East may be interesting to watch. I still expect San Antonio to dominate.

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just was very excited with all those rumors about KG coming to LA, os I made this one

Unfortunately, it's unlikely. I know the buzz is there, but I don't know if the Wolves would trade for anything less than Kobe. The Lakers have to give up a considerable number of their players, preferably with short contracts to get Kevin; from a field of Bynum, Odom, Brown, Mihm, Georges, Walton, Jones, Cook... a resonable combination of those players... If, on the off chance, the Lakers were able to pull it off, it could likely be Kobe, Garnett, a decent player, and scrubs... It doesn't necessarily have to be that way, but it's a possibility.

Now all that being said, if the Lakers were able to get him, it's also possible that a lot of players would want to head to LA to play with them. Their contracts wouldn't be stellar, but with all the publicity, endorsements and so forth LA promises, a few players would be more likely to sign on with the prospect of a championship and the possibility of revenue from other sources. But again, I doubt the Lakers would be able to get Garnett.

I've also heard all the "Kobe won't be able to play with him, Kobe is selfish stuff." You guys know the real deal with all of that. I don't see that as being a problem at all.

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Its only speculation with no credible roots right now. There have been a bunch of Laker trade rumors, only one has proved to be true so far this year. Odom & Brown will probably be the most valuable players in the trade for Minnesota if it happens, I don't see Bynum being moved.

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That would be a hard trade to pull off, for the Lakers to get Garnett, but they would have to give up pretty much their whole team other than Kobe. The East will be interesting, I am anxious to see how Indiana is, with Artest coming back. In the end, though, its gonna be Miami and Detroit once again playing for the place in the finals.

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lol, ^^That reminded me, last season i was using realgm's trade chcecker, and just messing around.

If the Knicks wanted to trade Allan Houston to the Bobcats, in order for the contracts to match, CHA would have to give NY ALL Their players, aside from 1 :lolsign:

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This is interesting... The season is starting up and I know we have some Kobe haters on the forum, so yes... I am posting this to mess with you guys... have fun commenting...




The telltale signs emerged way back in 1999 when the Los Angeles Lakers hired Phil Jackson for the first time. On the day the Zen Master was to be announced as the team’s new coach, 20-year-old Kobe Bryant slipped in the back door of Jackson’s hotel and made his way up to his room to greet him. In Bryant’s hand was a copy of Jackson’s book Sacred Hoops, which Bryant had read.

The Laker guard had long hoped that Jackson would be his coach and months earlier had taken the unusual step of initiating long-distance phone conversations with Jackson’s long-time assistant, Tex Winter.

Bryant wasn’t alone in his desire to greet his new coach.

Over the coming days, Laker center Shaquille O’Neal would travel to Montana to visit with Jackson at his home on Flathead Lake. Long known as a big kid, O’Neal took an immediate liking to his new coach, to the point of jumping in the lake and playing with the various water toys that belonged to the coach’s own children.

Obviously, both players were eager to please their new coach, and to curry favor with him.

Headed into his fourth NBAseason, Bryant had long been viewed as the annoying hid on the Laker block, always eager for more work, always ambitious, always running afoul of what his elder teammates thought he ought to be doing.

“ The other players on the team wanted to make sure the earned everything he got, that the coach didn’t just give him something just because the fans wanted to see this young phenom play,” recalled Del Harris, Bryant’s first coach with the Lakers.

That was especially true of Shaquille O’Neal, the game’s dominant young center who felt immense pressure to win championships. Each season his dislike of Bryant had grown.

“What surprised me about Shaquille during our early days in Los Angeles was how frustrated he got,” said former Lakers GM Jerry West. “He was not fun to be around. The shortcomings of our team and his teammates made him angry because he knew he was going to be judged on how much we won.”

How angry?

Just months before Jackson arrived, O’Neal had slapped Bryant during a pickup game at the Laker practice facility.

“It would not be forgotten,” former Laker guard Derek Fisher said of the incident.

When Jackson and his coaching staff began work in Los Angeles, they were caught off guard by O’Neal’s level of animosity toward Bryant.

“There was a lot of hatred in his heart,” Tex Winter said of O’Neal. “he would speak his mind in our team meetings. He was saying really hateful things. Kobe just took it and kept going.”

Jackson had long been known for building an outstanding personal relationship with Michael Jordan in Chicago. That had been his strategy from the start: A great relationship with Jordan meant that everyone else on the team would fall in line.

Jackson astutely read that he faced a more severe choice in Los Angeles. The situation dictated that he could not be close to both Laker stars. So he made a logical choice, according to Winter. “Very early in our time in Los Angeles, Phil made the decision to go with Shaq. And he made it clear to Kobe and the press and everyone else that it was Shaq’s team. He made it clear he was far more interested in accommodating Shaq than Kobe. And Kobe seemed to accept this.”

Winter, however, began to have concerns immediately. He said he told Jackson that he seemed intent on making Bryant his “whipping boy,” the player on which the coach traditionally takes out all of his frustration. Winter told Jackson that making a budding young superstar a whipping boy wasn’t a good idea.

“Phil was trying to figure me out a little bit,” Bryant recalled. “one of things I told him is, ‘There’s nothing to figure out. I’m just trying to play the game and learn the game the best I can.’ Once we got that established we started moving a little bit. But I didn’t get into his mind games. I had so many other things to think about with this game. I didn’t really have the time even to do that.”

Perhaps Bryant should have paid more attention.

His relationship with Jackson only worsened over their five years together in Los Angels. Winter said it was made worse by Jackson’s refusal to have any sort of in-depth meeting or relationship with the young guard.

At the same time, Jackson leveled a variety of public attacks at Bryant during those years. At one point, Jackson told reporters that Bryant had sabotaged his own high school games to make himself look like a star, a comment that brought howls of protest from Bryant’s high school coach.

Despite the situation, Bryant kept his anger under control, Winter said, until the 2003-04 NBA season. It was a contract year for both Bryant and Jackson, and the coach responded with a media campaign to discredit the guard. It culminated with Jackson’ book, The Last Season, that depicted Bryant as a selfish and uncoachable player.

Jackson had worked behind the secenses several times in not-so-subtle ways to get Bryant traded. But in January 2004, he decided on the direct approach, Jackson went to owner Jerry Buss and told him he could no longer coach the team if Bryant remained.

Having witnessed the unfolding behind-the-scenes drama over five years, Lakers owner Jerry Buss told Jackson that was fine; his services would no longer be needed.

Stunned, Jackson abruptly changed his approach with Bryant. Suddenly, the coach began trying to have a relationship with Bryant, Winter said. And Bryant responded in kind.

“But it was too late,” Winter said.

Buss had made up his mind. Jackson had to go. And the owner had no desire to meet O’Neal’s demands for a lengthy extension on his $30 million plus a year contract. So the Lakers traded him to Miami (where O’Neal would later meekly agree to play for $20 million a season).

As he was cleaning out his office, a jilted Jackson did his best to portray Bryant as the villain in the breakup of the team, and soon that perception became the reality, simply because so many people believed it. Jackson made sure of it, phoning reporters as he drove from Los Angeles to his summer home in Montana. He dialed up columnists and radio talk shows to offer his version of events. Sports columnists everywhere who had no idea why the Lakers had fallen apart simply began reporting as fact that Bryant had schemed to make it happen.

Despite the blame game Jackson was playing so deftly, he would later admit the truth. Despite all his success in Los Angeles, he had failed in his handling of Bryant. And that was one of several factors in the breakup of a very successful team.

“in the final analysis, it’s the coach’s responsibility to manage the team in the proper manner and not have those things happen,” Winter said.

It was simply a huge mistake to not keep Bryant in the loop, Winter said. “I think Phil realizes that now.”

The debate over the issue would play as a steady refrain through most of the 2004-05 NBA season. It grew louder as O’Neal’s Miami Heat charged out to be the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Jackson’s campaigning had helped sales of his new book tremendously.

And it seemed to be the final straw for Kobe Bryant. He had absolutely no trust in Phil Jackson.

On the other hand, it was a frustrating Laker team he played on in the wake of Jackson’s and O’Neal’s departure. They began losing in the spring and failed to make the playoffs.

As much as Winter thought of Bryant, the coach didn’t hesitate to scald him with criticism. “there’s no balance to his game right now,” Winter said of Bryant in April, 2005. “He still has to learn to hit the open man, that if he does, the ball will come back to him. In some ways, he listens to me. In other ways, he’s never really listened to anybody, has he?”

Bryant’s attempt at leading the Lakers failed miserably.

“Kobe had a tough time,” Winter said. “I think his teammates really got down on him. He tried too hard to be a leader.”


As soon as the rumors started, Tex Winter couldn’t help but chuckle at the irony Phil Jackson return as Lakers coach for 2005-06? As mentor and confidant to both Jackson and Bryant, Winter was clearly the man in the middle. He acknowledged that the idea of Bryant and Jackson needing each other was amusing.

Bryant obviously needed help in turning the Lakers around. And Jackson, for all the coaching offers he had, needed a team receptive to his unique triangle offense. Bryant was the ultimate triangle player in the game, and Jackson the only real triangle coach.

Winter, the inventor of the system that had won nine NBA championships, had introduced them both to his creation. And now they both needed it and they needed each other.

In a further note of irony, as Jackson ponered renewing his relationship with the Lakers, he sought a meeting with Bryant. The guard declined, saying he didn’t want to be blamed if Jackson decided not to take the job.

Winter pointed out that during their five seasons together Jackson had declined to engage in any sort of in-depth meeting with Bryant yet regularly criticized him to the media.

Now it was Bryant’s turn to decline to meet.

Observers guessed that the guard wanted Larry Brown or Brian Shaw to coach. Bryant stayed mum, though.

Ultimately, Jackson announced his decision to accept a three-year deal at a record $10 million per season on June 14, calling the decision at his Staples Center press conference a story of “reconciliation, redemption and resiliency.”

Jackson did not make it clear just who it was in need of redemption.

“it Wasn’t about the money, but the intrigue of this situation,” Jackson said. “it’s a tremendous story and a tremendous opportunity. It’s a story of reconciliation, redemption, of reuniting – a lot of things in this make for a wonderful opportunity for the team, the Lakers and myself.”

Jackson wore a suit and sandals to the press conference.

“I’m not the panacea for this basketball club,” Jackson told the media. “It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take some time. But we do think there is some hope, and we can make some changes that will really benefit this team and we can get back into the playoffs again.”

For his part, Bryant, who turned 27 in August, issued a prepared statement saying, “His hiring is something I support.”

Jackson made a point of telling reporters that Bryant had phoned his congratulations that morning. “You know, I think after we play a few games and get kind of a feel of working together, we’ll really feel like we’re ready to go,” Jackson said. “I really encourage him to find a way to get his zest back for the game, not that he doesn’t lose his competitive edge, but the whole game. He wants to come back and make some people eat some words.”


Jackson and Bryant finally had that first serious meeting at Laker offices in July. According to Winter, Bryant wasted no time in making his feelings known about certain things Jackson had done to him. It was first step in the two trying to re-establish some sort of trust.

Jackson had endured a similar meeting several years earlier. In 1991, Jackson had served as an anonymous source for Sam Smith’s explosive expose, The Jordan Rules, a book that infuriated both Bulls GM Jerry Krause and Jordan for its unflattering portrait of them.

Seeing their anger, Jackson blamed the anonymous leak on his mentor and assistant coach, Johnny Bach, a sweet old guy and basketball lifer.

Eventually, Krause, Jackson and the Bulls fired Bach for “leaking” the Jordan Rules info, although they never explained that. He had a heart attack in the weeks after his devastating release. In 1998, Jackson’s treachery became known, and sometime later Bach and Jackson had a meeting. Bach wouldn’t reveal what he said to Jackson in the meeting that day, although the elderly coach said he made it clear what he thought of Jackson’s lowdown ways.

Now, Jackson was having a similar come-clean meeting with Bryant.

It’s not an issue that Bryant wants to discuss publicly. As much as Jackson did to color Bryant’s image in the public’s eyes, the guard knows that he has done far more damage with his ill-thought actions, including his world-famous sexual assault case in Colorado.

“I don’t really think about my image,” Bryant says. “It will shake out. People who talk about me in a negative manner, they don’t know me. If they had a chance to be around me, to kick it with me or whatever and get to know me, then they could judge. I think that will come out as the years go by, or whatever. People will see how I truly am, what I’m really about.

The first step in rebuilding his reputation will come with the upcoming season, predicted to be another difficult one for the Lakers.

Some observers wonder if the history between the guard and coach will resurface in the challenging months ahead. Jackson doesn’t take losing well. He once threw two chairs on the floor while coaching a Continental Basketball Association game.

Winter, though, thinks it will work. “I think they feel like they can help each other,” the longtime assistant said. “I think Kobe feels that Phil can help him be more effective. And Phil certainly feels like we need Kobe if we’re going to have any kind of season.

“Phil will take an entirely different approach with Kobe now, ” Winter said. “I think he will spend more time with Kobe individually and involve him in the strategies of the game. Kobe will like that. Before, Phil didn’t include him in things. In the final analysis, Phil felt the big guy was more important. But that will change now.”

Another thing that will change is how the team runs the triangle offense. Now, the Lakers’ triangle offense will look like it did when the Bulls ran it. With O’Neal in Los Angeles, the triangle was more flattened because O’Neal demanded the ball, Winter said. “We had to spend most of the time getting the ball into Shaq. Otherwise, he’d be very upset and yell, ‘Feed me the ball!’ With a player like Shaq, that was the thing to do, but it took away from the other players. We had to adjust to Shaq. Kobe tried to do what he could do on his own. He got the ball inside to Shaq. And Shaq got Kobe the ball, too. They played well together. If they hadn’t, they wouldn’t have won three championships. But there was always that attitude.”

Now, the ball will still go inside in the Lakers offense, Winter said. But the offense will work a lot better than it did when interim Lakers coach Frank Hamblen was forced to adopt it on the fly at midseason.

“Frank didn’t have the time to install the offense like it should be done during training camp,” Winter said. “That was tough on Frank. He knows the offense very well, but he had newer players who didn’t understand the offense. With players not sure what to do, Kobe had to take over. Yes, he tried to do too much. But he was forced to do that to try to win games. When the ball went to Kobe, he had to try to do things off the dribble.”

When the triangle works, the ball goes into the post and then the other players move and feed off the center.

“This year, the ball will have to go into the post, even if that post isn’t Shaq,” Winter said. “we’ll get back to a semblance of how we ran the triangle in Chicago. Luc Longley and Bill Cartwright were our centers in Chicago. Neither one of them ever aspired to be great scorers. They were happy to move the ball.”

Even though Bryant knows the triangle better than any NBA player, Winter isn’t ready to predict that the guard will blossom this year in the system. “I don’t know,” the 83-year-old coach said. “his bad habits are pretty well entrenched. Bad habits are hard to break. Kobe has got such great physical tools. And he wants to do the right thing. That’s the big thing. He wants to do it the right way. If he gets the right leadership, that will be the big thing. And that’s where Phil comes in.”

During the spring, Winter had expressed concern that Bryant’s spirit had been irreparably crushed by his team not making the playoff.

But Bryant wasted little time in showing during the offseason that his competitive fires were restoked and roaring. He showed up at the Lakers facilities at 6:30 each morning for grueling individual workouts. Shortly after 8 a.m., Bryant’s schedule then shifted to intense weightlifting sessions.

“He’s definitely motivated,” Winter confided. “I hope he’s not overdoing it.”

That, of course, has always been the concern with Bryant, from the very moment he came into the league.

“It’s gonna be interesting to see how he carries himself this year,” Winter says. “he’s had some humbling experiences over the past year. You have to be concerned that he doesn’t put too much pressure on himself. He’s always done that, always had this tremendous need to prove himself. He has this notion to prove he’s the best basketball player to ever play the game. That’s ridiculous. He just needs to go out and have some fun.”

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Nice read. Gets me hyped for the next season whether the Lakers make a move or not (and yes, we should fill the gaping holes at PG and C). It's just basically the same lineup as last year that was in the 6th seed before the injuries started happening. Spreewell or someone for the LLE or the remaining of our MLE would be an improvement.

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That does make sense though Vipa. I was watching the last game of the 05 reg season they were booing the crap out of him at the beginning when other arenas have already gotten over it (except for maybe Denver). I had no idea about the Portland rivalry though.. whats the basis? :pony:

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