Damn Right I'll Rise Again
So maybe he didn't exactly demand a trade, but "It's time for me to move on, and the Lakers are the team I want Indiana to trade me to," sounds close enough for me. From everything Jermaine has said, and Bird's responses, it seems to me that they have to be past the point of no return. I agree with Abbott that you don't even entertain the thought of trading your superstar in the media unless you've already resigned yourself to pulling the trigger. And despite Jermaine's attempt to backtrack, you can't really ever come back from saying that you'd like to be somewhere else.
So now that we've agreed Indiana is moving JO sometime soon, the only questions remaining are to where and at what price. (Hint: the answers I want to hear are "the Lakers" and "for cheap," so the rest of this post will be my wishful thinking/predicting why that's going to happen)
First off, why the Bulls haven't entered the conversation is a total mystery to me. JO is exactly what that team needs to make it over the top, they have much better pieces to offer than anyone, and he's probably going to be had in a firesale. But Paxson never really seemed too anxious to get Garnett or Gasol, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised by his complacency now.
So I'm going to operate from the unsubstantiated assumption that only the two teams I've consistently heard in the rumor mills are serious suitors: New Jersey and Los Angeles. Apparently New Jersey already offered Jefferson, Krstic, and Collins, but Indiana wanted Marcus Williams instead of Collins. With or without Marcus in the package, that's probably significantly better talent-wise than anything the Lakers can offer that doesn't include Odom.
Despite that, there are a few factors that put the Lakers over the top in my mind. First off, if Indiana's going to trade their franchise cornerstone (which we've already agreed they're doing; no going back now), then they have to commit fully to rebuilding. In Kwame the Lakers have a fat expiring contract to offer that New Jersey doesn't. Bynum is younger than Krstic and has a higher ceiling. Same to a lesser extent holds for Crittenton compared to Marcus. Furthermore, if you're going full-on rebuilding, I'm not sure why you'd want to commit to the 54 million owed to Jefferson over the next four years. Finally, while I've never bought into the don't-trade-in-conference rule, GMs seem to pretty consistently. With all that in mind, I think it's safe to say that the Lakers get the edge.
So now that we can all agree that a) Jermaine is going to be traded, and b) it's going to be to the Lakers, all that leaves is: at what cost? I'll spare you most of my full-blown shitty logic this time around, but basically because of Jermaine's quote, "I want to make it clear that I don't want to gut a team that I come to because then it'll be like I'm in Indiana all over again," I've pretty much decided that Lamar's not going to be included. I guess I'll save my analysis for how fricking awesome that will be for when it happens, but suffice it to say, the thought of a Fisher/Kobe/Luke/Lamar/JO lineup has me (and most Lakers fans) officially stoked.