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Shaq demands trade, Jackson not returning


MasterChief
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The Lakers are Kobe's team, should he decide to stay.

 

 

 

That's becoming increasingly obvious every day.

 

 

But Bryant opted out of his contract Friday and will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, ESPN has learned.

 

 

 

Bryant was among several Lakers players who went through season-ending exit interviews Friday with general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Phil Jackson.

 

 

 

Bryant wouldn't comment afterward except to say: "Have a good summer. Thanks for everything," as he shook hands with a couple reporters before leaving the Lakers' training facility.

 

 

 

Bryan has had his differences with Jackson and fellow superstar Shaquille O'Neal over the years.

 

 

 

In addressing reporters Thursday, Kupchak said the team intends to do whatever it can to keep Bryant. Having opted out of his current contract, Bryant could sign a seven-year deal worth around $140 million with the Lakers.

 

 

 

O'Neal canceled his scheduled exit interview Friday, apparently upset at remarks made by Kupchak, who left the door open to trading the star center if he demanded it while saying Bryant would never be traded.

 

 

ESPN.com's Marc Stein has learned that the Lakers' big man, who can opt out of his contract after next season, has demanded a trade.

 

 

Derek Fisher, who can also opt out, said after his exit interview Friday he was uncertain about Bryant's future as well as his own.

 

 

 

But Fisher did make a few salient remarks concerning Bryant.

 

 

 

"I think he has a lot of say-so in the way the situation is going to turn out, and rightfully so," Fisher said.

 

 

 

That's assuming Bryant doesn't go elsewhere.

 

 

 

"I think he is going to take his time," Fisher said of Bryant, who still has to deal with sexual assault charges in Colorado, with a trial expected to begin later this summer.

 

 

 

"I think Kobe has a really strong desire to accomplish a lot more things as a player," Fisher said. "He owes it to himself to make sure every possible scenario is set up for him to play at a higher level than anybody's ever seen.

 

 

 

"I think he has every intention of wanting to come back. He wants to make sure it's in the right setting."

 

 

 

Fisher had until Saturday to make a decision regarding his contract situation, but it was extended to next Thursday. He will earn $3 million with the Lakers if he doesn't opt out.

 

 

 

"There's a lot of emotions right now," Fisher said. "I talked to my agent 20 times yesterday trying to figure out what to do, how to make the decision."

 

 

 

That was before the date was extended.

 

 

 

"I think Derek has got a lot of value," said Fisher's agent, Mark Bartlestein. "We're going to try to come up with a deal that pays him what he's worth."

 

 

 

Bartlestein wouldn't elaborate.

 

 

 

"At the root of it, there's no question about me wanting to be here," Fisher said. "This is my life, basically, for eight years."

 

 

 

Fisher joined the Lakers in 1996 -- the same year as O'Neal and Bryant.

 

 

 

Fisher and Bryant joked and exchanged hugs as they left.

 

 

 

"There are so many question marks regarding our future, the total direction of this team," Fisher said. "I don't want to make a decision just to please everybody. Basically, this decision determines the rest of my career."

 

 

 

Fisher said Kupchak told him he would love to have him finish his career with the Lakers.

 

 

 

"That says a lot," Fisher said. "There's no question the Lakers would love to have me back. I would love to be back. Hopefully we can find some common ground. Business is business."

 

 

 

Fisher could opt out and sign with the Lakers and return for substantially more money. He has also made it known he wants to at least be able to compete for a starting job. Gary Payton joined the Lakers this season and took Fisher's starting job.

 

 

 

Payton has a deadline of next Wednesday to opt out of his contract or return and be paid $5.4 million next season. Payton refused comment following his exit interview Friday.

 

 

 

Karl Malone, who opted out of his contract Wednesday, is expected to learn the severity of the knee injury he sustained during the finals in the next couple of weeks.

 

 

 

"They've got to let the swelling go down," Malone's agent, Dwight Manley, said Friday. "The Lakers have so many other issues going on, it's probably good for Karl to sit back and see what's going on before he decides what he's going to do."

 

 

 

Malone, who turns 41 next month, has said he would only play with the Lakers and only if he's 100 percent healthy.

 

Everyone knows about jackson, so i'll just give the link

 

ESPN- Jackson will not return to coach Lakers

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The Lakers wont be awful next year because Kobe will re-sign with the Lakers because he needs them as much as they need him. Plus its not like they are going to get scrubs for Shaq.

 

A triangle-less Laker team also means that Payton will be able to go back to his old self and run a more open tiype of offense.

 

As for Shaq, he is very smart to jump ship out there. If he goes to a team that made the playoffs this year like a Mavericks (who would trade like Finley, Jamison/Walker and some scrubs) could be leathal.

 

Good luck big poppa.

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There is no way the Lakers will be bad...no way. Shaq wants to get traded, therefore will get something huge in return. This is Shaq we're talking about. Kobe will re-sign since Phil left. The Lakers will be in good shape, no question.

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