Of his restricted free agent status, Carmelo Anthony has warned a return to the Knicks next Autumn is hardly a sure thing, and a mindful William Rhoden of the New York Times‘ proposed solution is a sign-and-trade that would send Anthony to the Lakers in exchange for the possibly-not-fit Kobe Bryant. Though admitting, “the odds of this happening are tiny, or infinitesimal”, Rhoden still manages to insist, “I may be the only person on the planet who believes such a trade would be a key step toward bringing the Knicks a championship”. In lieu of a polygraph test, we’ll have to hope Rhoden isn’t merely being provocative for the (fucking) sake of it :
Knicks fans point out — emotionally, by the way — that Bryant is 35 and has a ton of N.B.A. mileage on him, and that he tore his Achilles’ tendon in 2013 and fractured his knee this season. His body has taken a beating, and Jackson would be gambling on Bryant’s recuperative powers. But Bryant’s will, his competitive spirit and his commitment to winning are like new, and they are what the Knicks need most.
The Knicks don’t need an aging Bryant to be the Kobe of old. For the next two seasons at least (Bryant is signed through the summer of 2016), they need him to point the way. And that, he can still do.
In Anthony, the Lakers would get a supreme building block. That organization has good karma, as Jackson might say, and with Anthony still in his prime, Los Angeles would find a way to get back on top in the Western Conference.
Bryant admires Jackson, and Jackson is probably one of the few people capable of showing Bryant a vision of accomplishing something that even Jordan could not — reviving a second N.B.A. team. That might just convince Bryant to try a two-year run on Broadway, or maybe even more than two years. If nothing else, Bryant might set the stage for a Kevin Durant era in New York, with Durant leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to come east and join Bryant when Durant becomes a free agent in 2016.