Kobe Bryant Was Once Almost Traded To Detroit In 2007
Kobe Bryant is quite possibly in the Top 5 of the most iconic players in NBA history, subjectively speaking, and his legacy will carry one for years considering his tragic early demise. But it blew my mind as a casual basketball follower to learn that Kobe was once almost traded to the Detroit Pistons.
In an article by Bleacher Report, they discuss how Kobe was unhappy with the Lakers' management who were unable to put people around the star player to help boos him to a championship team. It was only 3 years prior that the Detroit Pistons won the NBA title, taking down the Lakers in 5 games:
A rumor later emerged that the Lakers agreed to send Bryant to the Detroit Pistons, but he used his no-trade clause to veto the trade. Supposedly, the deal would have sent Bryant to the Motor City in exchange for Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Amir Johnson and a first-round draft pick. Bryant, of course, never ended up being traded anywhere. And the Lakers eventually stepped up and acquired All-Star big man Pau Gasol, who would help the team capture back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
So Why Did The Deal Fall Through?
Basically as the deal was good to go, according to a call Joe Dumars received, Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss wanted one last in-person meeting with Kobe before the deal was inked, and he was persuaded to stay on the team. Had he not agreed, he would have teamed up with Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace. This may live on to be one of the NBA's greatest "What If" moments.