Lakers Tried To Trade Kobe Bryant For LeBron James In 2007
In the summer of 2007, Kobe Bryant had one foot out of the door. Bryant vehemently demanded that the Los Angeles Lakers trade him to either Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns or San Antonio Spurs.Advertisement
The Lakers couldn’t work out a deal with Bryant’s three desired destinations. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who has covered LeBron James’ career since his high school days, revealed Tuesday that Lakers contacted Cleveland Cavaliers about making the biggest trade in basketball history.
Windhorst revealed that Cavaliers were convinced that “LeBron was untouchable.” The Cavs came back with a counter offer which included most of their roster, but Lakers passed. Bryant told ESPN’s Baxter Holmes that he “would have declined” the trade if it was accepted upon since he had a no-trade clause in his contract. Bryant was willing to be traded only to Bulls, Suns or Spurs.
One big fish for another…
Both Bryant and James have acknowledged the rumor. Bryant was reportedly opposed to moving to Cleveland. LeBron said “I believe it” to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin about the proposed trade in 2007. “If you give up one big fish, you got to get a big fish, too.”
At the time, Bryant was still under contract for two more years. 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.
Luckily for the Purple & Gold, Bryant stayed put in Los Angeles. That’s because between 2008 and 2010 the Lakers made three consecutive NBA Finals besides winning two championships.
“At that time, the Lakers had to do something. I was just losing faith in what they were trying to do. It was like I was a meal ticket. You come out and score 40, 50 points, fill the seats, we’re going to keep the payroll at a minimum, generate revenue. It’s like, look, listen, I am not with that, dude. I have to win without Shaq. I’ve got to do it. We’ve got to do something,” Bryant told Holmes.
Kobe Bryant is currently in Cleveland for his last-ever away game against Cavaliers. The Laker legend will call time on his career at the end of the season.