Yeah, Kobe is a POS. He's aloof, arrogant, and poison in the locker room...BUT he is the most talented player in the NBA. And like Jake said, he's quite a bit younger than Shaq, so the Lakers made the only move they really could and traded Shaq away.
Not really a Lakers fan(though I appreciate dynasties), but it should be fun watching teams get some payback on 'em this year.
We're pretty excited about the Mavs down here in Dallas though; already 3-0 and the team is blending well(yes I know it's incredibly early). They *might be* the deepest team in the NBA this year, as it's looking like their roster goes 10 deep. COurse that's all dependent on players like Stackhouse, Terry, and to some degree M. Daniels continuing to be willing to come off the bench and on many nights, accept lesser minutes and a reduced role. BUt hey! we finally got a center!