Kobe Bryant Scoffs at Idea of Leaving Lakers: ‘I Bleed Purple and Gold’

Kobe Bryant shouldn't have ever needed to say so, but here it is in 10,000-watt, cornea-searing neon lights: No. 24 isn't leaving the Los Angeles Lakers.

No way. No how.

"I hear the chatter of Kobe should ask out and he should go and play for a contender in this latter stage of his career," Bryant told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. "But that's not what I do. I'm extremely loyal to the Lakers."

Loyal as he claims to be now, demanding a trade is something Bryant has done before—in 2007. But this is an entirely different situation. After referencing that previous demand and distinguishing those circumstances from the ones he's facing in L.A. this season, Bryant sounded like a man fully committed to his team.

"I bleed purple and gold," he said, per Spears.

ESPN.com's Chad Ford (subscription required) first floated the idea of trading Bryant on Oct. 29. That's the chatter to which Kobe now finds himself forced to respond.

Even if we look past the fact that this topic arose from nothing, without a source or report, there are endless logical hurdles to moving Bryant, not the least of which is the mind-bending difficulty of finding a suitor for a player in his 19th season with nearly two years left on a $48 million contract.

There's also the minor detail of Bryant's no-trade clause, which he'd have to waive.

Also this, from CBSSports.com's Matt Moore: "Bryant has a legacy to protect, the Lakers have ratings and profitability to protect."

At 0-4 and having lost promising rookie Julius Randle for the season, the idea of moving Bryant is a flat-out nonstarter for the Lakers. They need to sell tickets, retain television viewers and somehow stay relevant. Bryant gives them those things.

The Lakers would be crazy to give them up.

Scoff away, Kobe. You're justified.

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