Bulls GM Paxson: There's Not Going to be a Kobe Deal

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Kobe Bryant won't be joining the Chicago Bulls anytime soon.

General manager John Paxson basically squashed the notion that the Los Angeles Lakers' superstar will wind up in Chicago, saying the teams were never on the verge of a deal and talks were over for now.

"There's not a deal done," he said Thursday. "There's not going to be a deal done. All the things that were out there were really unfair to all of us who were trying to do our jobs. The misinformation ... I think gets in the way of the process. It's just such a complicated thing and we kind of put it to rest now."

Paxson's comments came a day after a flurry of rumors. Speculation picked up Wednesday, with one report saying the Bulls, Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers were discussing a three-way deal that would bring the superstar to Chicago.

That scenario had Paxson sending Ben Gordon and a signed-and-traded P.J. Brown to Sacramento, Chicago's Ben Wallace and the Kings' Ron Artest heading to Los Angeles and the Bulls landing Bryant.

Bryant drew some boos during introductions before the Lakers' season-opening 95-93 loss to Houston on Tuesday, after calling the front office a mess and asking to be traded during the offseason. The jeers turned to cheers as Bryant scored 18 of his 45 points in the fourth quarter to lead a comeback.

The trade deadline isn't until February, so it's possible talks between the Lakers and Bulls could resume.

"Who knows?" Paxson said. "The reality is that right now, it's done."

Paxson was concerned the issue would become a distraction, so he decided to put it to rest.

"I think today sends a message to our players that nothing's going to be done," he said.

The Associated Press News Service
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