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Are we a darkhorse? Do we want to be? UPDATE: SURVEY SAYS "MOST LIKELY"

Just when it looked like we were in the clear regarding the Kobe rumors it looks as if the Wizards have been sucked back into it.  Here's what Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune reported about the Wizards possibly making a trade for Kobe:

One general manager on the periphery of the Bryant talks says he believes the "dark horse" to make a deal with the Lakers is the Washington Wizards. The consensus is the Wizards have hit a plateau, but have the star power in Gilbert Arenas to make a deal.

Arenas is talking about opting out of his contract after this season. He's from Los Angeles and has become a star, one of the league's highest-scoring players and an engaging personality who would embrace the Hollywood scene. He would meet the Lakers' demands for an All-Star player if they trade Bryant.

"Watch out for them," the general manager said, meaning the Wizards.

The Lakers probably would want a power forward, which the Wizards don't have. The biggest obstacle, though, may be Bryant's no-trade clause, along with the fact he hasn't indicated any interest in Washington. Still, with Bryant, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler, the Wizards would have a three-star set that could match up in the East.

I'm leaning toward bunk on this rumor, but that's also what I said when I heard that the Celtics were about to make a move for Garnett.  I still believe at the end of the day if Kobe does get traded, he'll be heading to Chicago  because they have the best package to offer.  But Washington has the one thing that Chicago doesn't -- an all-star player.  If the Lakers are looking for the player with the most star power that's tradeable, it's Arenas.  Not trying to say that the Wizards should make the move, just trying to offer the other side of the argument.  Feel free to argue how likely and/or how feasible a Kobe trade would be, as well as the ramifications if one went through in the comments.

Update [2007-10-29 13:5:25 by Pradamaster]: Well, well, well. Our man Marc Stein confirms that this isn't necessarily Sam Smith talking out of his behind.

Phil (Nations Capital): How real is the rumor that the Wiz are going to trade for Kobe?

SportsNation Marc Stein: Real enough that I wouldn't call it a rumor. Washington's interest, I'm told, is definitely genuine. What we don't know yet is whether Kobe would be amenable to Washington or exactly how much the Wiz would be willing to part with. But the Lakers would be hard-pressed to do better than a package that features Gilbert Arenas and (if they're lucky) Andray Blatche . . . as long as Gil were willing to agree to a contract extension with his hometown Lakers as opposed to opting out at season's end.

SportsNation Marc Stein: I am no way saying that this is imminent. But our man Sam Smith reported in today's Chicago Tribune that there's a growing buzz about the Wiz getting involved in the Kobe Sweepstakes and I've since heard that there's legit smoke here. We'll have to see what Kobe thinks of sharing a city with the president, since he wields more power than anyone in the NBA with the league's only active no-trade clause.

But wait, there's more.
Andy (Milwaukee, WI): If Kobe were to go to D.C., how would a trio of Bryant, Butler, and Jamison be any different from the trio of Bryant, Butler, and Odom that Kobe started out with after Shaq left?

SportsNation Marc Stein: It would be a trio in the East, for starters. Which makes a huge difference. Plus teams are going smaller and smaller now -- smaller than they were three years ago -- so Butler and Jamison are big enough to work with. The Lakers might not be having so much friction with No. 24 if they had held onto Butler. I have to admit that I thought it was the right move at the time to gamble on Kwame, but Butler proved me (and the Lakers, more importantly) way wrong. Butler, Odom and Kobe would be a decent core now with the way Caron has developed.

I still find it highly improbable that Kobe gets traded, and I'm not sure why the Lakers would do a deal centered around Arenas, when it likely will give them no cap relief. Otherwise, I'm not sure what to think here. Consider this an open thread for trading ideas back and forth.

My piece of advice to the Lakers: Take the Chicago deal instead.