The ‘Will He or Won’t He?’ surrounding Kobe Bryant continues today, as it now appears that after a heart-to-heart with Phil Jackson, Bryant is open to the idea of staying in L.A., and the Lakers are aggressively pursuing a new Robin to his Batman, perhaps in the body of Indiana’s Jermaine O’Neal, whom the Knicks are also reportedly interested in.
Of course, these latest developments can’t stop ESPN’s Chris Sheridan from speculating on what it would take to get Kobe on the Knicks. Says Sheridan:
Any package presumably would begin with Stephon Marbury, whose salary is almost an identical match with Kobe Bryant’s, and then the Knicks would have to include a package of young players (David Lee, Channing Frye, Nate Robinson) and (presumably) their No. 1 pick in exchange for an additional player the Lakers would want to get rid of (Vladimir Radmanovic?).
And now back to reality. With the likelihood of seeing Mr. Purple and Gold in Orange and Blue somewhere below half of 1%, there is also some buzz about a player who may actually be within Isiah Thomas‘s grasp. As we mentioned in March, Seattle small forward Rashard Lewis has chosen to opt-out of his contract in order to shop himself to a bigger market. Now that the Sonics have been granted the No. 2 pick in the draft and will almost certainly select Kevin Durant, the chances of Lewis returning to Seattle seem slimmer than ever.
Meanwhile, yesterday the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that the Knicks could look to offer the Sonics a sign-and-trade deal for Lewis in exchange for Seattle natives Nate Robinson and Jamal Crawford. The Knicks would likely make this swap in a heart-beat, but more than likely the Sonics would demand higher returns for a player of Lewis’s caliber. Then again, if it appears they might lose him for nothing to a team with the cap space to sign him outright, the team might take whatever they can get from the Knicks. Newsday‘s Alan Hahn echoes the team’s interest in the free agent today.
For the time being, the Sonics maintains they plan on resigning their star small forward. It’s just tough to envision a court big enough for Lewis, Durant, and superstar Ray Allen, not to mention a purse big enough to keep them all in Seattle.
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