"To be honest, I don't like it," said Kobe Bryant.
He had company, as teammates also reacted negatively Sunday to news Lamar Odom had been shipped out. To Dallas. For, at least for the moment, nothing.
"I didn't see that coming at all," Andrew Bynum said. "so I don't even know what he was traded for or anything like that."
So I told him.
"Draft picks and a trade exception? Wow, that's crazy," he said.
And that he went to a rival in Dallas? "That's definitely not a good thing, but it's not my decision so I'm just going to come in and play."
Derek Fisher wondered about the message the organization sent, given all he felt Odom had done.
"As a basketball player it confuses you as to what your focus should be. If your focus should be about making sacrifices, making less money, playing a lesser role to be a part of a championship team, it doesn't seem like the reward fits anymore." he said. "The reward is, when something else better comes along, you're going to be traded and pushed out. That's just not a message that you'd want a friend or a teammate to have to experience, but at the same time we know that's a part of what this business is now."
Asked if he thought more was coming, Fisher was blunt.
"I would assume that the trade is not being made just for exercise purposes, but maybe I'm wrong in assuming. Maybe it's just something the team feels is better in the short or long term. Those are decisions that we have absolutely nothing to do with, but it doesn't mean we have to agree with them," he said.
Look, I get it. As ESPNLA.com's Dave McMenamin reports, a source says Odom asked for a trade on Friday in a face-to-face meeting with Mitch Kupchak and then through his agent reiterated the request Saturday. McMenamin notes concern inside the organization Odom's role on a non-triangle, Mike Brown team wouldn't justify his salary. (I'm not buying that one-- talent always has value, as do the matchup problems his skill set creates.) He may have had to go, and if that's the case, the opinions of the players he leaves behind are, in the end, irrelevant. What I question is the timing, and definitely the destination. Did they have to act as fast as they did? Were the Mavs the only outlet available?
The Lakers have dealt with disgruntled players before, including Kobe. Another week of Lamar questions wouldn't have capsized the ship, if the option was available. Drama is routine in El Segundo. By moving him the way they did, the Lakers simply traded one form for another.
Beyond Odom's talent and impact on the floor, he has for seasons now been the team's emotional core, a huge balancing influence in the locker room. The loss is significant, and leaves the Lakers with a bunch of players who have absolutely no idea of the franchise's direction as they head into a critical season.
Passing Brown today on the floor, I joked about how all this uncertainty has impacted his practices.
"So do you just walk through the door in the morning, count the guys in jerseys, and then figure out what to do that day?
He laughed, and you'll never hear Brown complain, but there's no question all of this makes his job harder. Much of the uncertainty is unavoidable fallout from the lockout. We focus on the Lakers, but remember there are teams out there who don't have enough guys under contract to run a real practice. Kupchak and Jim Buss could over the course of the next few days pull the trigger on any number of moves shoring up the roster's holes. That trade exception could be useful, along with that pick. Things could absolutely turn out just fine.
Right now, though, on day three of preparation, El Segundo is home of many unhappy campers.
More from Fisher and Bynum below...