|Lakers owner Jerry Buss says he'd consider trading Kobe Bryant|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 11 October 2007 10:04|
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss said he would consider trading Bryant, the NBA's scoring leader the past two seasons, under the right circumstances.
``I would certainly listen,'' Buss told three Los Angeles-area beat writers covering training camp in Honolulu on Wednesday. ``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.''
Buss spoke publicly about Bryant for the first time since the Lakers' star erupted in anger late last May, complaining about a lack of talent around him at the end of last season and asking to be traded.
Buss made his comments to reporters from the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register and the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
The Lakers won three championships and reached the NBA finals four times in five years before Shaquille O'Neal was traded to Miami in July 2004. They haven't won a playoff series since O'Neal left.
Bryant has four years worth $88.6 million left on the seven-year contract he signed a day after O'Neal was traded, but can terminate the deal in two years. If he did so, he would be leaving $47.8 million on the table.
``I tend not to think in basketball terms that many years down the road because things change so dramatically, but he could test the waters at that point,'' Buss said. ``If he still is in that frame of mind, then hopefully we can do a sign-and-trade and get some comparable talent. I would like to think that we win between now and then so it doesn't come up.''
Following his trade request, Bryant kept a low profile regarding the Lakers until reporting with his teammates Oct. 1 on Media Day - before the team left for Hawaii.
Bryant told reporters that frustration led to his blowup. Otherwise, he said the time had come to move forward.
Buss recalled a meeting in Barcelona not long after the trade request, when he tried to talk Bryant out of the trade request.
``He was very respectful,'' Buss said. ``I told him when I walked in that I was going to try to talk him out of it. And he said, `I'll listen carefully.' And he did.
``He listened very carefully for 30, 45 minutes. I tried to explain to him how much the city of Los Angeles loved him, and that to leave 10 million sweethearts for unknown territory might not be the right thing to do. But when I was finished, he said he basically felt the same way. And I said, `OK. With that, I will proceed to see what's available.'''
Buss didn't elaborate other than to say he might have made a move on a trade offer that was ``within reason.''
``You have to get comparable value when you make a trade,'' Buss said. ``It's very hard to trade somebody like him because people who have enough material to make it worthwhile are usually contenders and they don't want to make the trade.
``What was offered was not ever under consideration. And I told him that I would try my best to accommodate his wishes, but that I could not afford to let him go unless we got comparable talent if there was such a thing. ... I even told him occasionally what I was offered and I said, `You have to know that this is not in favor of the Lakers. This would jut be terrible to do. And he would say, `I understand.'''
Buss also acknowledged frustration at losing out to Boston for Kevin Garnett's services.
``I personally feel that we made a better offer than the people who were successful,'' he said.
The 29-year-old Bryant is about to begin his 12th NBA season - all with the Lakers.