Lakers Tried To Trade Kobe Bryant For LeBron James In 2007

by Steven Clarke February 11, 2016, 16:59

After playing his final game in Cleveland on Wednesday night, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant gave the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James something to remember the occasion.

It was an emotional game on Wednesday as the Lakers visited the Cleveland Cavaliers for the final time this season. That potential NBA-shattering trade discussion actually happened in the summer of 2007, ESPN reported, citing multiple direct sources, when an in-his-prime Bryant was agitating for a trade away from the Lakers and a 22-year-old James was just ascending to basketball demigodhood.

Bryant and James defended each other at times, and on a couple of sequences seemed to enjoy one of their final matchups.

Five-time title winner Bryant was honored with a pregame video presentation, with many 20,562 fans in attendance chanting "Kobe, Kobe" when he was announced last in the Lakers starting lineup, then again when he was taken out of the game in the closing seconds.

The 28-year-old Bryant averaged 32 points per game and shot 46 percent from the field during the 2006-07 season and was the NBA's Most Valuable Player the next season. Bryant told ESPN he would have vetoed a deal to Cleveland as well.

This would have been just about the craziest story anyone could have dreamed up, and it would have completely changed the course of many franchises, not just the two involved. Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers in the third period with 10 points, as James added another nine points in the quarter.

Love quickly left the floor late in the second quarter after he got hurt while working in the post against Bryant. Good for him for trying, and, obviously, good for him for sticking things out with Bryant once it became clear Los Angeles couldn't get anything resembling equal value in return.

Instead Bryant was celebrated from the start, complete with Kobe chants.

Still, Los Angeles is anxious to get back on track.

Love's exit overshadowed Bryant's final appearance in Cleveland. Two years later, he won his first MVP of the league, but he had three years remaining on his deal with the Cavs at the time.

 

Eventually, Lakers and Detroit Pistons agreed to terms on a possible trade which would have sent Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton to L.A. Bryant rejected the trade. James entered the night trailing Paul Pierce for 15th place on the NBA's career scoring list...


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