He needs to go. That much is obvious. He can't stay anymore: the atmosphere is too poisonous. I suppose winning titles gives someone license to be flaky beyond belief. I suppose having a legacy of success with one team, even if it's only partial at this point (it won't be a complete legacy for a few more years), gives someone a certain latitude. I guess that's the way of the world. Jerry Buss can't be this dumb. He just can't.
Of course, it's terribly distracting when your best player no longer wants to be there. It's incumbant on everyone to be professional about it. Sure, the whole trade me thing at the beginning of the summer was whiny and petulant. And yeah, Bryant's ego demands constant stroking. But everyone knew that when he fell to #13 and then demanded to be traded out of Charlotte. But the problem is that he's the best player in the league. He's intense. He's unbelievably skilled. He torched my team in that famous game a couple of years ago. He's capable of carrying a team on his back to the playoffs in the Western Conference; he'd probably win the Eastern Conference. LeBron James did and Bryant's better than him. But Jerry Buss is the moron here. Jerry Buss, who's clearly gone senile, has ceded the basketball decisions to his know-nothing son, Jim. Yes, Mitch Kupchak is overmatched. But that doesn't excuse what Jerry Buss has done: sabotage his team for the foreseeable future.
Trading Bryant for bits and pieces is a stupid idea. In fact, it's unbelieveably stupid. If there's a word that means more stupid than stupid, that's what it is. Kobe Bryant is your team, Mr. Buss. Accept it. You painted yourself into this corner when you traded Shaquille O'Neal for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant's corpse. Now you're in the LA market and debating trading the best player in the game. You know what? You're one trade away from becoming the Knicks. And, while it would please me greatly to see the Lakers suck, and the thought of the Clippers being LA's best team is mildly amusing, it would be dumb. As a fan, I want the Raptors to travel to LA to take on the Big Bad Lakers, not a team of retreads. And make no mistake: if you trade Bryant, you'll never lure another superstar to the team. Who wants to play for a meddling owner and his nutjob son? Especially when you can't offer more money than other teams. There's no chance you'll see this, Mr. Buss, but don't trade Bryant. Just don't do it.