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Changing Teams, But Not Arenas? The Kobe Rumor Mill Turns

One rumor building up steam is that the Clippers--yes, the
miserly, moribund Clippers--are planning to make a free-agent run
this summer at Kobe Bryant (pending an acquittal in his sexual
assault trial). Word around the league is that the Clips are
serious about making Bryant an offer of $10 million to $12
million a year, which would allow him to lead his own NBA team
without leaving the Staples Center.

The Clippers have a stable of lively young big men including
All-Star Elton Brand, rookie center Chris Kaman, low-post scorer
Melvin Ely and hyperactive power forward Chris Wilcox, who has
showed signs that he might be a future star by averaging 10.5
points and 5.7 rebounds in 11 starts while Brand recovered from a
broken foot. Picture them trying to pin down Shaq while Kobe
dunks on his crosstown rival's head. It's fun to imagine, anyway.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH The Clips could offer Bryant $12 million a year and the chance torun his own team.