In 2007 the Los Angeles Lakers picked up the phone to see if a possible Kobe Bryant for LeBron James swap was possible. Honestly, who cares?
By Robby Sabo
Get your trending and hashtag meters up, something crazy is spreading across the Association today.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, multiple sources revealed that the Los Angeles Lakers actually picked up the phone and called the Cleveland Cavaliers in gauging their possible interest in a Kobe Bryant for LeBron James swap.
Windhorst explains that L.A. made the call when Kobe was 28-years old, coming off of a season that saw him put up 31.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. LeBron was a 22-year old phenom who put up his own dominant numbers the season prior: 27.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists.
Excuse me if I don’t fall into the norm of “fantasy-land NBA fan,” but this is hardly news. And honestly, who cares?
At that point in the man’s career, LeBron James was the most valuable asset in all of sports. Shame on any organization for not picking up the phone in speaking with the Cavs. The least any team with a big star such as Bryant can do is gauge interest.
Of course, you’d already know the answer would be “untouchable,” but still, the chance of hitting the lotto is always there. How else do you think some of these general manager’s get away with grand larceny in some deals?
LeBron, for one, isn’t shocked and doesn’t doubt the legitimacy of this claim.
“I believe it. If you give up one big fish, you got to give a big fish too,” he told ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin.
Even further ruining this fantasy and how it would’ve played out is what Kobe had to say following this bit of news.
Per Windhorst, Kobe told ESPN.com’s Baxter Holmes that there were only three teams he would have approved a trade to, and the Cavs weren’t among them.
So, while the fantasy NBA fans claim “hey wait a minute, Kobe did request a trade back then,” he would have never gone to Cleveland. Moreover, one of the more lopsided trades in NBA history featuring Pao Gasol changed any trade demands Bryant once had – as the Lakers went on to capture two NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.
In the end, we wind up where we started. We come back to a much more realistic place in which a trade like this would never occur, and we should expect NBA teams sporting at least one superstar to pick up the phone to gauge interest in somebody like a LeBron James.
This is especially the case during a time Kobe Bryant was being extra salty towards the Lakers organization – the one and only team he vowed to play for heading into the 1996 NBA Draft.