Ahhh, I kid. As Tim points out below, I too doubt very much Kobe will be heading anywhere anytime soon; the various potential situations just don't seem right. I don't see a team like the Suns, the Mavs or even the Bulls blowing up their nucleus to acquire Kobe, and let's face it, there's just no way he'll go to a shitty team; that'd defeat the whole purpose. Come November I'm guessing he'll still be in LA; it's honestly pretty hard to imagine him anywhere else, save New York except for the fact that the Knicks are terrible (talk about your dysfunctional organizations) and have next to nothing in the way of tradeable assets. Philly might make some sense--Kobe's always been sensitive toward his hometown--except that they're atrocious and, besides Iguodala, have little in the way of attractive trade pieces.
Now that that's out of the way, I've been out of town for a while and clearly have a lot to catch up on. First and foremost, Tim's proposed Pierce and the #5 for Bynum and Odom scenario: very interesting. I checked this trade out on RealGM.com--a brilliant site that's been around for a while now and which ESPN has predictably ripped off completely, by the way--and it actually works, salary-wise. I've always loved Odom as a player, and he's being completely wasted in LA, as he has been most places he's played because most coaches haven't been creative enough to figure out how to use his unique skills (though that really doesn't bode well for a potential Doc-Odom pairing). I think Bynum will be a nice player and a potentially very very good one, and Lord knows moving to the East could speed up his development curve by a good two years. Shipping Pierce to LA also makes some sense since he's from there, and would give the Lakers the legit second option Kobe seems to crave. I'd be worried we're giving up a little too much here, though... I think Bynum for the number five in this draft is pretty much an even shake, and then the trade becomes Pierce for Odom which seems a little lopsided, much as I do enjoy Lamar. I dunno, it's an interesting thought.
As for the Zach Randolph thing, Tim's right that Randolph would absolutely destroy the Eastern Conference. Randolph in Boston could be a potentially crazy situation, though, and I'm not sure he and Jefferson can play together. Most of the time I feel like the "NBA players are gangsta thugs" discourse smacks of deep racism (white athletes simply don't get talked about this way), but Zachary actually strikes me as a legitimate sociopath. Which could be interesting, but I'm not sure he'll coexist with Big Al and given the choice I think I'll take Al who's both cheaper and by all accounts a stand-up dude.
Now, the draft... I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with Tim's Julian Wright crush, largely because my own Corey Brewer crush is growing frighteningly intense with each passing day that I convince myself both Brandan Wright and Horford will be gone by the time we pick. Both Brewer and JWright would make either Pierce or Gerald redundant (though "redundant" is at least a bit clearer than what Gerald is now), so as far as I'm concerned they're basically the same thing. And I'm really taken in by Brewer; gotta love those two titles, the fact that he played so well within a system when he was arguably the most talented guy on the court, that 90 foot wingspan or whatever... like I've noted numerous times, when all's said and done Corey Brewer might be the third-best player in the draft. As for JWright, I think he'll be a nice player but the knock I keep hearing is that people think he's sort of hit his ceiling; apparently that's one of the big reasons he came out this year. I do fully endorse Tim's argument that NBA people routinely talk themselves out of guys for mind-numbingly stupid reasons (see Howard, Josh), but I'm not sure Wright fits that bill. I'm also not convinced Conley's entirely overrated, either, though I also don't think he's the second coming of Chris Paul like some people apparently do. Conley is worth watching in terms of the C's: a number of people have suggested the Hawks could take him at #3, largely because they've spent the past several years drafting dudes who look an awful lot like Brandan Wright, Al Horford, Corey Brewer, etc., while passing on dudes like CP3 and Deron Williams (soooooo stupid). If the Hawks take Conley third that means either BWright or Horford will fall to us, both of whom I'd infinitely prefer over Yi. I'd still think hard before passing on Brewer though. I dunno, this will be discussed ad nauseum over the coming weeks.