The Knicks were on the list of four teams Kobe Bryant asked to be traded to late last spring, Bryant acknowledged for the first time Saturday to a small group of reporters. And, he said, no teams have been taken off the list.
"They were, yeah," Bryant said when asked if the Knicks were among the teams for which he'd agree to waive his no-trade clause. After the Knicks and Bulls, Bryant said it was the Mavericks and Suns, marking the first time he has publicly disclosed the list.
The Knicks, who declined to comment Saturday on their role in the Bryant saga, have been aware since the summer that they were among his chosen teams. The situation never advanced beyond exploratory talks, though.
Asked if he removed the Knicks from consideration in mid-October because of the uncertainty and turmoil churning at Madison Square Garden, Bryant said, "No, I just kind of pushed everything to the back burner and stopped thinking about trades. It wasn't something where I was scratching teams off or anything like that. I just stopped thinking about it because once the season got under way, my focus had to be here. It couldn't be split because I'd be doing a disservice to my teammates."
Asked if the list still is on the back burner and if his formal trade request still is on the table, Bryant said, "Call Mitch Kupchak and see what he thinks about that. I don't get into that ... It's all what Mitch wants to do, really. Mitch and Dr. Buss. It's all on them. They can either trade me or not trade me. It's completely their decision."