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Originally published May 31, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified May 31, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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NBA | Bryant's demands are talk of predraft camp

The buzz among the dozens of NBA executives and coaches sitting in the stands at the Milk House gym on the Disney Wide World of Sports complex...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Northwest connections


A daily rundown on the three players with Northwest connections at the predraft camp

Oregon G Aaron Brooks: The former Franklin High star went a long ways to proving he's more than a scorer, recording five assists and six rebounds in leading his team to a 78-67 victory.

Scout's take: "There's no way he's a first-round guy. I don't see that. Second round? Maybe. If you're looking for an energy guy to come off your bench, then he makes sense. But he's 6-foot and he's a 2-guard."

Nevada G Marcelus Kemp: The Garfield High grad did little to improve his chances, failing to convince scouts he's more than a scorer. Scored 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting, including a long three-pointer.

Scout's take: "Another year [in school] wouldn't hurt. He can still go back because he didn't sign with an agent."

Boise State G Coby Karl: For long stretches, he was the best player on the court despite a strong performance from Pittsburgh center Aaron Gray. Though likely an off guard in the NBA, Karl played point guard because no one else on his team could handle the position. He led his squad to a blowout victory and finished with 11 points.

Scout's take: "He showed some of the little things that make him a potential NBA player. He ran the team well. He liked passing the ball. He has an understanding of things and a good basketball IQ, but he has to show other scouts other things."

Percy Allen

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The buzz among the dozens of NBA executives and coaches sitting in the stands at the Milk House gym on the Disney Wide World of Sports complex had nothing to do with the 62 prospects gathered at the league's predraft camp. It had everything to do with the trade demands from Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant — trade demands that appeared to be short-lived but rose from the dead later in the day.

When Charlotte part-owner Michael Jordan entered the building for the predraft camp's afternoon session, he spotted Memphis general manager Jerry West sitting in the stands.

"How you doing, kiddo?" Jordan yelled from the balcony. "So, you're in the middle of all of this turmoil?"

West shrugged his shoulders and replied: "Help."

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, who sat a few feet away, is the third member of a sordid Los Angeles triangle that was created by Bryant. In the morning, the Lakers star told ESPN radio "I would like to be traded, yeah. Tough as it is to come to that conclusion, there's no other alternative."

A few hours later, he backtracked from those statements in subsequent radio interviews and implied that he wants West, whose contract with the Grizzlies expires June 30, to return to Los Angeles where he played and built Lakers teams that won three championships in the 1990s.

Still later, Bryant spoke to the Los Angeles Times and reversed positions again, repeating his desire for a trade.

Northwest connections


A daily rundown on the three players with Northwest connections at the predraft camp

Oregon G Aaron Brooks: The former Franklin High star went a long ways to proving he's more than a scorer, recording five assists and six rebounds in leading his team to a 78-67 victory.

Scout's take: "There's no way he's a first-round guy. I don't see that. Second round? Maybe. If you're looking for an energy guy to come off your bench, then he makes sense. But he's 6-foot and he's a 2-guard."

Nevada G Marcelus Kemp: The Garfield High grad did little to improve his chances, failing to convince scouts he's more than a scorer. Scored 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting, including a long three-pointer.

Scout's take: "Another year [in school] wouldn't hurt. He can still go back because he didn't sign with an agent."

Boise State G Coby Karl: For long stretches, he was the best player on the court despite a strong performance from Pittsburgh center Aaron Gray. Though likely an off guard in the NBA, Karl played point guard because no one else on his team could handle the position. He led his squad to a blowout victory and finished with 11 points.

Scout's take: "He showed some of the little things that make him a potential NBA player. He ran the team well. He liked passing the ball. He has an understanding of things and a good basketball IQ, but he has to show other scouts other things."

Percy Allen

"Nothing's changed," Bryant told the paper. "It's just a matter of I don't want to go no place else. I don't have much of a choice. When things like this go down, you just sit back. What can I do? It's like a broken record."

The Los Angeles Times reporter then asked Bryant if he still wanted to be traded, to which Bryant quickly and firmly replied: "yes."

After hearing his early morning trade demand, many executives at the camp contemplated trading for Bryant.

"I guess there's no harm in dreaming," Boston general manager Danny Ainge said before laughing. "I don't think you'd be doing your job, if you didn't give it some thought. We'll see what happens there and that's about all I can say."

Like a dozen other NBA teams, the Sonics were briefly in the middle of Bryant trade rumors, primarily because they own the second pick in next month's NBA draft. One report had Seattle signing free agent Rashard Lewis, then trading him or Ray Allen to the Lakers along with the No. 2 pick for Bryant.

On Tuesday, president Lenny Wilkens said he'd listen to offers for the second pick, but admitted that he'd only part with the pick in a "blockbuster deal."

Durant praise

Greg Oden or Kevin Durant?

New York coach Isiah Thomas said the choice isn't as clear-cut as many might believe and considers himself a big fan of the Texas freshman forward.

"He's unlike anybody that I've ever seen," Thomas said. "I've never seen a guy quite like him. I've never seen a 6-11 guy do this. I've seen [Kevin] Garnett. I've seen [Dirk] Nowitzki and I've seen all the 6-10, 6-11 supposedly mobile kind of guys. But he [Durant] takes it to another level."

Thomas lavished praise on Durant, but NBA rules prohibited him from responding to reports of New York's interest in Lewis.

When asked if the Knicks will have an active offseason acquiring free agents and making trades, he said: "I'm listening. If there's a way we can upgrade our team, we definitely will. We're not in a hurry to do anything. The waters are still in Knicks camp. Slow and steady wins the race. We're not looking to make any mistakes. We'll be cautious and very conservative."

Notes

• If the Sonics do not renew assistant Ralph Lewis' contract today as expected, then he may land in Charlotte on Sam Vincent's staff.

Lewis, who played three seasons in the NBA, spent 1-½ seasons in Charlotte. Sonics assistant Jack Sikma has drawn interest from Milwaukee.

Contrary to an earlier report, New York assistant Herb Williams said the Sonics have not contacted him.

• Despite an invitation, Arizona G Marcus Williams, who prepped at Roosevelt High, is a curious no-show at the camp. Calls to Williams' agent Rob Pelinka were not returned.

Wildcats assistant Miles Simon said he is unaware why Williams did not attend. Oregon guard Aaron Brooks, who worked out with Williams in Las Vegas this month, said he thought Williams would arrive on Saturday for physicals and testing.

• Three weeks ago, Durant signed with the Upper Deck trading-card company. Terms were not released, but an industry source said Durant received a $5.5 million deal.

• Washington's Spencer Hawes, Eastern Washington's Rodney Stuckey, Durant and other top prospects will take part in a media interview session today.

The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.

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