The idea that Kobe Bryant will jump from the sinking Lakers ship to shore up a contender has a lot of people excited. Knicks fans were heard chatting about it on the street as they watched the NYC Marathon on Sunday. “Kobe can’t take it, he’ll be out. Phil’s gonna just grab him up,” said one fan. Phil Jackson–with Knicks coach Derek Fisher–probably knows more about Kobe’s intentions than anyone. The Zen master is famous for reading his players (and former players). And Jackson will be attuned to the superstar’s mounting frustrations as Lakers wins grow even more rare. They’re 0-4. Will he make a move?
Kobe says he’s staying. “I’ve enjoyed a great amount of success here. You can’t just enjoy the successful times and then run away from the bad ones. No, I don’t even think about [departing]. I’m a Laker,” Kobe says. Kobe’s deal has a no-trade clause so he’d basically have to trade himself. But holding on to his idealism is going to get much harder. Because his whole reason for being is that he loves to play basketball–and what he loves and what the Lakers are doing aren’t always going to resemble each other this year.