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Derrick Rose Should Start Recruiting Kobe Bryant Immediately

Updated on May 26, 2013
Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose
Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose | Source

Not only is Bryant facing an uphill climb from a devastating Achilles injury that robbed him of a chance to play in the playoffs, he could return next season to find what was once a full cupboard stripped bare. It is exactly the kind of situation that could force a man into a tough decision to seek out a new home rather than stay and watch the old one crumble. That is why star point guard Derrick Rose should not wait until next year to start recruiting him.

Dwight Howard changes the game for the Los Angeles Lakers

Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard | Source

Things didn’t end the way Laker fans had hoped. After Los Angeles traded for star center Dwight Howard and landed future Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash in free agency, it seemed the only thing stopping them from getting Kobe his sixth ring was themselves. Sadly that is how it played out. Nash and Howard struggled with injuries early in the season and just when they were starting to get healthy, Bryant went down. At age 34 nobody knows if the Lakers leader will return to form next season or if his aging body has had it. Complicating the fact is what can happen to the teams' core in his absence.

Nash turns 39 next season. His time in the NBA is coming to a close after a brilliant career. No one would feel shocked if he chose to retire. Meanwhile, Howard caused headaches galore when he broke the news he was thinking about leaving in free agency for another team, citing the Houston Rockets as a possible landing spot. With vivid memories of his trade saga back in Orlando, it is a circus nobody wants a part of. Yet, facts are facts. Howard believes he just doesn’t fit the system Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni runs. Moving to a team that will maximize his skill makes more sense to him. That is not good news for Los Angeles. They had planned from the beginning to bridge the superstar gap from Kobe to him. He was their answer for the future. If he leaves not only is that plan scrapped, it could set the organization back a few years. That is time Bryant doesn’t have.

Chicago Bulls expect to cut the Carlos Boozer weight in 2014

Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer
Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer | Source

Free agency is not much of an option for the Chicago Bulls this year. While they would love nothing better than to spend some money to find help, the reality is they don’t have it. A big reason is most of their cash is locked up in current starters. The name that gets tossed around by fans a lot is Carlos Boozer. The power forward came to the Windy City in the midst of the failure by the front office to land LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh. As a result they overpaid to make sure they got Boozer. Since then his impact has been good, at times, but not worth $15 million a year. This has caused an uproar for the Bulls to use the amnesty clause which would allow them to buy him out his contract. However, since they would have to pay him for the season and he would be free to sign somewhere else, it’s better if Chicago gets what they can out of him.

That could change in 2014. By then the amnesty clause is far more viable since Luol Deng is a free agent that same year. Those corresponding moves would clear $32 million off the books and open the door for the team to use a max level contract on a free agent. GM Gar Forman wouldn't have to worry about losing Deng since second-year man Jimmy Butler proved every bit as good during the playoffs this season. That means the Bulls could use their money to go after any star they want. Common sense says they should take a second stab at LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Then again, after getting jilted once before, they are better served having a backup plan in case that route is a dead end.

Making sense of the Kobe Connection

So why Kobe? There is no guarantee he will even leave L.A. or if he will return to his typical form that’s made him an all-time great.

To answer that is to do something people have done for years: compare him to Michael Jordan. Bryant averaged 27 points in 2012-2013 at age 34. By June of 2014 he will sit two months away from turning 36. Jordan ended his reign in Chicago at age 34, sat out for two seasons then made a comeback in 2001 with the Washington Wizards at 38. Despite age, rust and a bad team around him, he still averaged 22 points per game. If the comparisons are fair for Bryant then he should have what it takes to put up something similar.

The reason Chicago makes so much sense is they have a glaring need at shooting guard. A two-year experiment with veteran Rip Hamilton proved a failure. The Bulls need a second scorer next to Rose in the backcourt who can take advantage of the suffocating defense implemented by Coach Tom Thibodeau. To date they haven’t found anything. Their best scoring option this season was Nate Robinson who was signed in the off-season as a bench player. His play late in the year was inspiring but not enough. He is a free agent in 2013 and not expected back. Since instant starters are hard to find in the draft, Chicago must hope they can find somebody next year.

The big roadblock to signing Bryant, besides the aforementioned, is price. Kobe will make $30 million from the Lakers next season. A player with over ten years of experience who is worth a max level contract must allot for 35% of the salary cap. That means the Bulls would have to pay him $24 million. Theoretically, Chicago could pay that but it is a steep price for a man turning 36-years old. It also would handcuff them from using any money to fill out other problem areas like the bench. So the best hope for the Bulls is if Bryant did leave the Lakers that he would take a pay cut to join a championship-caliber team. With Rose back and healthy by that point, Joakim Noah at center and Butler in the front court it is a lineup plenty good enough to make a run.

All that is left is for someone to remind Kobe that he can still retire a Laker even if he left for a couple last hurrahs somewhere else. “If it’s good enough for Jordan,” as they say. That responsibility falls to Rose.

What has to happen for Kobe Bryant to leave L.A.?

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    • dontaytte profile image

      dontaytte 4 years ago from Palos Hills

      He should recruit, he should have been recruiting but not Kobe. Kobe is a great player don't get me wrong, but he has never put up a shoot that he didn't like. Kevin Love is the guy

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I would celebrate getting Love, but not at the cost people are saying it would take for the Bulls to get him. I'm hearing Deng, Butler, Mirotic from overseas and the Bobcats first round pick. That is too much for one guy whose primary strength is rebounding. If you get Bryant in free agency, you keep all those assets in place and only expend money. During the time, if I were the Bulls, I'd begin scoping for a young guard to groom for later while Kobe is in place. That way we don't lose the young building blocks we have.

    • profile image

      Fonzo 4 years ago

      Not likely... Butler, Mirotic, and Charlotte's pick should be sacred. I prefer free agency as opposed to trades. Much more flexibility.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      Kobe is a great player, but I can't stand him. He's a punk! I have to agree with Dontaytte, recruit elsewhere. David West, Amare Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett, (he's from Chicago), or even Josh Smith. Someone strong in the post & good defensively. Kevin love is great offensively, but don't think he fits into Thibs defensive schemes.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I don't care if he's a punk or not. The guy has five rings. He knows what it takes to win them and he scores over 20 points per game. To me, those are prerequisites to a smart free agent signing. People thought the Bulls were crazy when they signed Rodman. Look how that worked out. Kobe has faults. He hogs the ball at times. Whatever. He's a player. I like Love but he won't be available at a fair price for years. Stoudemire and Garnett are too old and don't fit what we need. We need somebody who can create their own shot and do it consistently. Kobe can.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 3 years ago from Texas

      Your right, Rodman was great, but he knew his role. You had Jordan, Pippen and a bunch of role players. Kobe is too good and arrogant to be 2nd tier to anyone. Couldn't even share the limelight with Shaq, who at the time was the most dominant player on the planet. Can't get along with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol now. Think it would be similar to signing Terrell Owens in football, he would be a cancer.

    • ShootersCenter profile image

      David 3 years ago from Florida

      Got to agree with Alphadogg, Kobe is a true cancer. He would not fit well with any team other than the Lakers, the owners there are use to his big ego.

    • dontaytte profile image

      dontaytte 3 years ago from Palos Hills

      Kobe will want to be the alpha male on the court. Look at his track record and you will see the teammates who were running to get away from him. Don't count Shaq that's to easy.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Yeah but that was when he was in his prime. Do you really think after an Achilles injury and another season of failure he'll think he should lead a team at age 36 with Derrick Rose on the roster? If he's so smart, he would understand all the Bulls would need him to do is score when they ask.

    • dontaytte profile image

      dontaytte 3 years ago from Palos Hills

      If we were talking about other players yes, but it's Kobe. The guy wants to control every aspect on the court. He believes that for the team to win the ball must go through him.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      That's because it's been true in Los Angeles ever since Shaq left. It was a strategy that won back-to-back championships in '09 and '10. If he came to Chicago I'm sure Thibodeau would say take your shots but we're playing this thing MY way. In other words, go to your mark and wait for Derrick to feed you the ball. Then take whatever shot you want.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 3 years ago

      To add to alphadogg's argument, another thing to consider about Rodman was that he was still in his prime when the bulls signed him. Whereas kobe, he's way passed his prime, and unless he was willing to take a significant pay cut, then I don't think it's a good idea.

      If chicago does try to get anyone from the lakers, then they should try to trade boozer and maybe a few drafts picks/roleplayers/etc to get Pau Gasol instead.

      Let's be honest, even if Nash returns, he's not going to be the same player he once was, and he's always been a defensive liability. But at least back when he was younger, he was fast, but he doesn't even have that advantage anymore. Kobe is getting old, and Dwight isn't coming back.

      Therefore, if I was the lakers, i think it's better if they just rebuild. granted, kobe won't like it, but too bad. I doubt any good player will want to sign with la, and they lack the salary cap to go after anyone. therefore, pau gasol seems to be their best trade comodity to get more young talent on that team.

      All the bulls really lack is a consistent low post scoring presence which is what boozer should've been, but he wasn't. however, pau is not only better than boozer when it comes to post scoring, but he's also a better rebounder as well. not to mention he's one of the best passing big men in the game, so i can see him fitting in with the bulls system. if you ask me, i think the bulls would be better off trying to trade for pau gasol.

      it would not only make more sense for the bulls, but it would also give la some new pieces to build around; particularly if they can manage to get the bulls to agree to throw in some draft pick choices in there as well.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I'm not worried about a low post scorer because I believe the Bulls will get that when they bring Mirotic over from Europe. He's younger than Gasol, comes from the same league, is 6'10" and already the MVP. He will be our replacement for Boozer at power forward. To me that leaves two spots unaccounted for, shooting guard and backup center.

      I understand perfectly well we would not be getting the Kobe of 2005. He is old and not the same player. Fine. I also know it will take a lot of time for the team to draft and develop a young guard anyway. So why not take Kobe at a reduced price and use his 20-25 points per game? It would give us a threat at guard sooner and allow the younger option to learn from the bench.

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