Good to see someone on here who's my age, and been a fan almost as long as I have (Lakers fan since I heard my older cousins talking about this dude named Magic Johnson back in 1980). I agree with you, Kobe shouldn't be traded, but I wouldn't have put a max contract in front of him. He was coming off an Achilles tendon repair; he was not going to be the same Kobe he was 5 years ago or even the year before the injury. I can speak volumes on that because I've had my Achilles repaired not once but twice. The first time was 15 years ago when I was 28. He will never have the same explosiveness he had. He's clearly lost a couple of steps on defense, so I couldn't have offered him what the Lakers did. I would hope he would have stayed because he wanted to be a Laker until he retired, if not I would have wished him well. The management has not made very good decisions on which players to keep or let go lately (since Jerry West left); there are 2 players on the team now I would have let go before last season started, and one that they did let go who's playing in the Eastern Conference finals right now. I think if Jerry West was still there he would have kept Kobe there for less money. I'm sure all the teams in the league were laughing at that contract because they knew we wouldn't have any money to pay anyone else. Let's just hope our GM doesn't screw up anymore; he did do a pretty good job last draft (Clarkson was a steal, and Randle getting hurt was just bad luck).