One of the many joys of a high-profile NBA team collapsing is when the desperate homers and old-fart national columnists who, weirdly, don't pay any actual attention to the NBA begin wildly overestimating what the team could get back by trading away its bad players. Hey, the Knicks are in the toilet now, but if they flip Shane Larkin for Andre Drummond and a second-rounder, they're right back in this thing! It happens every year, and it's always fun.

Speaking of which, hey, here's Sam Smith, a Chicago Tribune legend and one of the venerable old voices in sportswriting. He wrote The Jordan Rules, a book all the teens should read before they start opining on NBA basketball! He also has some ideas about what the dreadful Lakers might do to get themselves out from under Kobe Bryant's mammoth salary. We're all sitting here under the learning tree; take it away, Sam.

So what about joining LeBron?

Intriguing!

They both need the ball a bit too much.

Yeah, LeBron could never coexist with a high-usage shooting guard. Good call.

And you know the Lakers would do it. Because it would get them Ky

Wait.

rie

WAIT.

Irving,

"Great news, LeBron! We traded one of the best and most marketable young players in basketball for a 36-year-old with wrecked legs on a two-year mega-contract! Oh and also, he'll want to shoot 25 times a game because the most important thing in his life is cementing his legacy by passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list, and he'll bristle at playing a complementary role because he's a world-historic dickweed. Merry Christmas!"

"...come again?"

who could really start shooting then.

Y'know, once he's out from under ball-hoggin'-ass LeBron James.

But with Irving's extension not kicking in until next season, it would take too many players to match Kobe's salary. So forget that.

Got that? The salary cap is the only reason why the Cavaliers won't be trading Kyrie Irving for Kobe fucking Bryant.

What else you got, Sam?

The Wizards have a young, potential star shooting guard in Bradley Beal.

Why yes. Yes they do. He's 21 years old and is due a fifth as much money as Kobe Bryant over the next two seasons, but whatever.

Then you give the Lakers Nene and another player since the Wizards have plenty of guys they're not much using to include in trade.

"Great news, John Wall! We traded one of the best young guards in basketball, two seasons from the end of his rookie contract, plus our second-best player, for a—"

[LeBron parachutes through the window, guns blazing]

For the Wizards, it's the chance to take a shot, which they really don't have now. With the addition of Paul Pierce, the Wizards are about now. Adding someone like Kobe with Pierce, John Wall and Marcin Gortat gives them a shot at the top of the weak East.

"Let us get worse at basketball, for the sake of winning now" is a pretty bold-ass strategy. That's some Byron Scott shit. Hey, maybe Kobe's where he belongs after all!

But seriously: Has anybody visited Sam Smith lately? I am worried about him.