Talk of trading him this year is completely and utterly ridiculous. If all those "what if" scenarios start to fall into place then of course you explore your options NEXT YEAR.
I'm not sure what you mean by a million things can happen that could make Kobe stay. I only see 2 scenarios that would make him consider NOT opting out.
1. Lakers exceed expectations this year with the current roster and somehow make it to the Western Conference finals.
This scenario seems unlikely seeing as how the roster is pretty much the same, barring Kwame realizing his potential(probably not!) or Bynum becoming a low post demon(don't think so). I expect a similar season as last year. Especially seeing as how most western conference teams improved or stayed the same. I don't think any elite team in the West got worse.
2. Lakers make a splash at the trading deadline and acquire an All Star caliber player.
This scenario is probably the Lakers best bet as far as keeping Kobe goes. And even then it's not a lock. Off the top of my head the only player that we could possibly obtain to appease Kobe is Jermaine O'Neal. THe Pacers have a terrible squad complementing O'Neal and I think this might be the year they decide to truly blow things up. But let's be honest, the package of players the Lakers can offer up a potential trade partner is not that enticing.
I'm hoping that somehow Kobe decides to change his mind but I don't think that's happening. If Chicago offers up a package that included Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich I'd jump all over that. But I think it does make more sense to let this season play out and entertain offers around draft day.
who would you rather have your 17yr old daughter hanging around, Kobe or Buss?
Kobe to Golden State for Baron Davis+1st round pick.
I'd start watching the Lakers again if Baron was in LA.
Says he doesn't want to play for Charlotte on draft day and demands to be traded to the Lakers.
Waves everyone off in an all-star game he shouldn't have been playing in.
Goes and gets treated during the off-season without the Lakers consent for a knee injury in Colorado (we know how well that worked out).
Allegedly complains about the plane that the Lakers flew him to/from his court dates.
Says that if he leaves the Lakers, Shaq would be a big reason why on national TV.
Opts out of his contract and holds the Lakers hostage until they deal Shaq. Signs one day after they do.
Demands to be traded after a couple of years of playing poorly. Forgets that the Lakers don't have any assets to trade after the Shaq trade and can't sign anyone as they are over the cap.
Now, once again, the Lakers are in a position of weakness. No one will offer what he would be worth because. . .well, they don't have to. Kobe will turn this season into another dramatic episode because he screwed this all up years ago.
Trade him, get what you can, be sucky, get good picks in the draft. I'd much rather that than deal with this prima donna anymore. He's turned what was once a proud franchise and made it a freaking joke.
As to what ASU said about playing through the prime of his career, I think it's time we accepted that was years ago. The guy is an 11 year vet. It's not like he's playing his sixth year now. He's played roughly 1000 league games and he's had numerous surgeries to his knees and shoulder. Mind you, not serious ones. . .but they still happened. He's wearing down and I'm willing to bet he loses a step in the next two years. I'd move him and fast.
My statement basically had to do with Kobe realizing that this currently is his prime and he probably can't sustain this level of play beyond 4-5 years. So he wants to win immediately. I see your point though.
I agree that Kobe is in his prime from the last couple of years up through the next year or two, maybe three if he's keeps amazingly fit. But like anyone, injuries will eventually take their toll.
Personally, I don't feel with this team, he is going very far into the playoffs this year unless something happens; something significant like bringing in another unruly scorer (preferably a forward) that COMPLIMENTS him. What's that likelihood?
That said, I wouldn't be opposed (I am very aware how good he is) to moving him. (and maybe it's just that I'm so tired of the drama...) But ASU makes good sense, that it should wait until after the season so it doesn't blister the Lakers in any way financially.
But if some fluke happened and the Lakers moved him to Seattle for Durant, Green and a first, I wouldn't put up too much of a fuss. But that's just me, and I can dream like any other guy.
The reason trading him right now makes no sense is because a deal simply isn't going to get done, unless the Lakers get completely raped.
Waiting an entire year gives the Lakers an idea of where each team's draft pick is so that's an advantage. Also I think a team would be more inclined to deal a bigger package when the optimism of starting the season is gone. For example let's use the Bulls. Right now I think John Paxson is very satisfied with his team. It's very unlikely he'd add in Luol Deng in a deal for Kobe.
After this season if they get beat by the Pistons again it might be a different story. Paxson and the rest of the Bulls brass might believe that their team as currently constructed will never get by the Pistons. In addition, Paxson might start feeling the hot seat a little and he'll be more inclined to put Deng in a deal.