While co-hosting The Grantland Basketball Hour with Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose on Sunday, Kobe Bryant touched on a myriad of topics, including his retirement, Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook and his 2007 trade request that took the basketball world by storm.
Bryant revealed to Simmons and Rose that the Lakers had agreed to trade their franchise player to the Detroit Pistons for a package that included Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and a surplus of draft picks.
But why didn’t this blockbuster trade ever come to fruition? Bryant used his no-trade clause to nix the swap, as Detroit was not one of his desired destinations. Here’s more from Kobe himself:
I said, “I gave you a list of teams I’m comfortable being traded to. That wasn’t one of them. So, no.”
Chicago was my No. 1 choice.
The Lakers and Bulls discussed the parameters of a deal that would’ve seen the likes of Tyrus Thomas, Ben Gordon, Joacim Noah and Luol Deng end up in Los Angeles, but Bryant was adamant that Chicago exclude Deng from any trade talks as he viewed Deng as a valuable piece for a championship chase.
Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks also attempted to negotiate a deal for Bryant, but it was all for naught as the Lakers could hold on to their star and go on to capture two consecutive championships with Bryant and Pau Gasol at the helm.
It’s interesting to think what might’ve occurred if Bryant was sent to Chicago in 2007. Discussing “what if’s” is always amusing, and a change of uniform for Bryant would’ve caused a cosmic shift in the NBA landscape. As a longtime Jordan admirer, I’m sure Bryant would’ve gladly embraced the challenge of replicating the great success Jordan had during his Chicago days.