The most interesting part of this article, though, is that a potential 3-way trade between the Lakers, Bulls, and Kings was nixed!
Sources told Bucher on Wednesday that the Lakers had been in talks this week with the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings about a possible three-way deal. The Lakers would have acquired Ron Artest and Ben Wallace. The Kings would have gotten Ben Gordon and P.J. Brown. And Bryant would have landed in Chicago.
That deal is apparently now dead.
Good God, that's a TERRIBLE trade for the Lakers! Why the hell would ANYONE think a misfit like Artest and an over-the-hill Ben Wallace would make up for losing Kobe? If anything, that would have been a good trade for everyone EXCEPT the Lakers! Had this deal gone through, the Kings would have actually leapfrogged the Lakers in the standings with Gordon leading the way for them.
As annoying as this might be for the Lakers, this is Year 3 of "we really really like our core players - but don't get too attached to them because we might trade for Garnett/Gasol/Kobe" for the Bulls. The opener was bad enough for the Nets continuing to own the Bulls, but it's hard to get into the start of the season when it feels like offseason player movement is still going on.
I would expect things to heat up again in a month and a half. At that point the Bulls can include Nocioni in a deal to try and even it up. The Lakers supposedly are interested in Noc, so a deal of Hinrich, Nocioni, and Thomas, plus whatever cap filler needs to be in there, might be more appealing than anything previously offered up until now.
... to play in Italy??? This reminds me of MJ's first retirement, when a Ukranian team named (and I'm not making this up) Tiit offered him a huge - well, huge for anyone else besides Michael Jordan - contract to come play for them.