Basketball / NBA | NBA REPORT

Bryant not a good fit for rising Bulls

by Peter Vecsey

NEW YORK — For those still engrossed in the Spurs-Cavaliers series, Kobe Bryant met Friday in Barcelona, Spain, with Lakers owner Jerry Buss and demanded to be traded. More or less — depending on which interview of the glut he did with U.S. journalists we accept as true — Kobe’s request reinforces the portion he has yet to retract.

Don’t worry if you’re having trouble following the bouncing Bryant, it’s still early in the crisis. I always go with whatever mind-set sticks in a best-of-seven continent circuit.

If I’m Chicago, I unplug and shut off all phones, stick cotton in my ears if necessary, anything to help resist the Siren of Kobe. No matter what it would take, cosmic package or a mere pittance, and, I suspect, it ain’t gonna approach that. More like two hardcore players, maybe three and the No. 9 pick in the June 28 draft.

Now I ask Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, VP John Paxson and coach Scott Skiles, does it appear as if it’s fun to be Kobe’s boss, coach, teammate, parent, or wife, for that matter? Does it look as if he’s enjoyable to be around even as little as two or three hours a day? I’m taking a wild stab and guessing he leads the league in bad connections.

On the other hand, aside from Ben Wallace’s weird ways, the Bulls seem to have a very good thing going and getting better all the time. Are there any more seats to be filled or suites to be sold? How much more can be charged for commercial TV and radio time? Haven’t they created enough of a hometown buzz already? Can they be any more popular?

Why risk breaking up choice chemistry by importing an extremist seeping a sickening sense of entitlement? It’s not as if Kobe has something the Bulls lack — a pristine paint performer — just gobs more of what the 1900-cm Ben Gordon provides, including 10 more centimeters.

Last I looked, the Bulls wanted longer length than that, especially if obtaining the compulsive scorer means surrendering one or two big men.

Shouldn’t the Bulls use their abundant assets (especially since Gordon and Luol Deng are eligible this summer to be extended long-term) to secure one of them?

An L.A. source contends Rob Pelinka, Kobe’s rancid rep, contacted the Magic to gauge interest in his client. You know there’s a whole lot of that going on — “Catch us, if you can, commissioner” — regarding trades and free agents.

TV arranged an elite round table in Cleveland. Bill Russell, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Bob Lanier and Bill Walton showed Greg Oden the ultimate respect by sitting down with the draft’s probable No. 1 pick for over an hour and sharing their centerfold experience and knowledge. When I find out when it’ll be aired, you’ll be the second to know.

Meanwhile, numerous newspaper people continue to harp on Kevin Durant’s inability to bench press 84 kg (185 pounds). Evidently, he placed next to last of all tested draftees.

If that’s not proof positive coaches (pro and college) need to revise their training priorities; players are spending far too much time in the weight room and not enough on the court.

Oden remains the consensus pick of the litter, but aren’t the Blazers overloaded at center? Don’t they exhibit a glaring cavity at small forward?

So, why not take Durant? Because probably they can acquire someone like Antawn Jamison (one year left at $17.4 million) for Zach Randolph ($13.3 million/$14.6 million/$16 million/$17.3 million). Should Oden be the pull, surely Portland will go out of its way to unload Joel Przybilla’s 4-year, $26 million obligation.

Other than Dirk Nowitzki, nobody has gotten less flattering press following their team’s playoff ouster than Shawn Marion.

By all accounts, he’s sky high maintenance, forever complaining about not getting enough recognition, shots, etc.

Supposedly, the Suns coaches (head man Mike D’Antoni is quoted downplaying talk of a trade) and his teammates are tired of babying him.

While all that may be true, the fact remains, Marion flawlessly fits into D’Antoni’s run ‘n’ stun system choreographed by Steve Nash.

What’s more, Marion won’t be better elsewhere and you can’t convince me the Suns will be better without him, I don’t care who they acquire in return.

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