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Lakers fans still held hostage

June 30, 2007

Let me get this straight: Kobe Bryant is supposedly so good that even if he is traded to a team that completely tears itself apart to get him, the Lakers still would not be able to receive equal value. If that's true, since Shaq left town, why has Kobe made less of a playoff impression than Matt Barnes?

MARK BACKSTROM

Redondo Beach

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Here's the deal. Trade Kobe to the Knicks for five players of the Lakers' choosing. Isiah Thomas can have the premier showboat and surround Kobe with some CBA stiffs to make the salary cap. Kobe stars in Madison Square Garden and the New York fans can boo to their hearts' content. Let the New York Times pick up the pieces from there.

JEFF MACK

Santa Monica

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To those of you who say Kobe threw his teammates under the bus, forget it. He has no teammates. One can only wonder what the athletes who are part of the same organization as Bryant think of his latest display of lack of character.

DAN JENSEN

San Clemente

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Do you really think that Kevin McHale, who still bleeds Celtic green, will go to extremes to help the Lakers? And which other two teams are involved in the trade talks? Boston and Indiana. And who are the people involved here? Danny Ainge and Larry Bird. Don't they bleed Celtic green too?

JIMMY CORONA

Diamond Bar

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The combination of Kevin McHale and Mitch Kupchak in negotiations is one that doesn't come around very often. McHale should be jumping at the fact that he can get a poor man's Garnett plus one of the most high-ceiling players in the NBA to make up the difference. Leave it to him to decline one of the few offers that might get him out of his mess.

But then add Kupchak and his "I'll give you as much as you want to get the core deal done" negotiating strategy and you get something memorable.

Imagine Mitch on the phone now, poker-faced and cagey: "Our 19th pick? Sure. Kwame's expiring contract on top of it? No prob. I'll even take back Troy Hudson's contract. If I managed to fix Miami's contract situation when it was the worst in the league, I'm sure I can fix yours too now that you've usurped the honor."

ALEXI PATSAOURAS

Tarzana

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Kevin Garnett? Are you kidding me? Although being a dream for some, he has too much mileage on him. I give him three more All-Star caliber seasons at most. And then what? What the Lakers should do -- and should have done when they dumped Shaq -- is look to Florida for a trade and I don't mean Miami. I'm willing to bet that Orlando would have gladly parted with monster-on-the-rise Dwight Howard and injury-plagued Grant Hill's equally monster-sized contract and welcomed back the Big Mouth. It would have been the steal of the century and set the Lakers up for another 10-plus seasons. But that won't happen now.

No offense to Mitch Kupchak, he simply followed orders, but to be a Jerry West you need to be one step ahead. Getting Garnett is the obvious choice, but the wise choice? The Lakers don't need superstars, they need supervision.

JOE FRANCO

Newhall

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I am no Kobe Bryant fan, but I can understand his concern about the Lakers' time frame. Any new team member will first have to learn the triangle, which Lakers opponents have learned to defend against a lot faster than Phil Jackson has been able to teach it to Lakers players.

DICK PRESTON

Yucaipa

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I'm old enough (by far) to remember the Lakers teams of the mid-'70s, after West, Goodrich and Chamberlain were gone. (I went to college with Don Ford, so I hung in there even when they were an under-.500 team.) Those were lean years, but they put themselves in a position to obtain Kareem, and then Magic arrived, then Worthy, and voila! The Showtime '80s were off and running.

I really enjoyed the Shaq-Kobe Lakers of the early 21st century, and I am not by any means a Kobe-hater. Nevertheless, I'm just sick of the whining and complaining. I say trade him. Get the best deal you can, suck it up, realize there will be some lean years, and start building for the future.

I will feel bad for the season-ticket holders, but enough is enough.

DAVID WEBER

West Hollywood

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What's the difference between No. 24 and No. 8? No. 24 is three times the trouble at three times the cost with three fewer rings.

P.J. GENDELL

Beverly Hills

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