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Spoke to an L.A. insider Tuesday and the advice was clear: Keep writing Kobe to the Clippers. "I just heard that again yesterday," the source said.
Atlanta is already preparing to pursue Bryant hard, but I'm telling you -- and will keep telling you -- that there isn't a team out there with salary-cap room (Phoenix, Denver, Utah) that will appeal to Bryant more than the Clippers. He knows the players there, he knows the coach and he wouldn't have to uproot his family if he switches locker rooms at Staples Center.
New York? That would require a sign-and-trade, and the Knicks figure to be less appealing to Bryant now with Stephon Marbury there as the city's favorite son. It wouldn't exactly be Kobe's team, now would it?
Memphis? Even if Hubie Brown decides to leave coaching at season's end because of health concerns, and even if Jerry West did replace Brown with Kobe's buddy Byron Scott, that doesn't change the Grizzlies' problem. Memphis would have to either convince Bryant to take the $5 million mid-level exception (no chance) or concoct a trade. And I'm still willing to go to Vegas and bet big on the belief that Jerry Buss and Mitch Kupchak -- if they ever did concede that it's better to trade Kobe rather than lose him for nothing -- would never trade Bryant to West. Never.
So face it, friends. If Kobe decides to leave the Lakers, as informed folks in L.A. increasingly believe, the Clippers are his first option.