Truth + Rumors
Posted: Thursday July 1, 2004 10:33AM; Updated: Thursday July 1, 2004 1:38PM
Kobe Bryant is intent on staying in the Los Angeles area, giving the Lakers and Clippers a leg up on Phoenix and San Antonio. Bryant has shown frustration with the Lakers' direction, and the Clippers have continued to clear cap space.
George Steinbrenner will probably be fined several thousand dollars for proclaiming his love of Randy Johnson and the Yankees desire to obtain him before the July 31 trade deadline on Sporting News Radio yesterday.
Karl Malone has undergone knee surgery and plans to retire.
The Yankees are looking to deal Kenny Lofton, who is signed through next year. The Bronx Bombers have talked to Colorado about Preston Wilson and have also shown interest in Andruw Jones and Steve Finley.
The Mavericks, along with many other teams, have discussed a sign-and-trade deal with the Warriors for unrestricted free agent Erick Dampier. The teams will look to sign Dampier then send him to the Lakers for Shaquille O'Neal.
The Rangers have inquired about the availability of Randy Johnson, but say they won't give up untouchable players like Michael Young, Hank Blalock and John Danks (last year's top draft pick).
With the development of third base prospect David Wright, the Mets are expected to deal Ty Wigginton for a starting pitcher. The Mets are focusing on Pittsburgh right-hander Kris Benson.
The Angels, Padres and Astros have each had scouts at recent Baltimore games looking at left-handed relievers Buddy Groom, B.J. Ryan and John Parrish.
The Lakers' early competition for signing Derek Fisher will most likely include Houston and Toronto.
Pokey Reese -- a free agent at season's end -- has enjoyed his stay in Boston, but he's in no hurry to sign a contract extension.
Hideo Nomo -- who has dropped nine straight decisions -- could have seen his Dodgers career end with last night's 7-1 loss against the Giants.
The Nets first offseason priority is re-signing restricted free agent Kenyon Martin.