Could you imagine a world in which Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki were teammates? That nearly happened, according to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Prior to the 2007 season, a disgruntled 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. The Lakers couldn’t work out a deal with Bryant’s three desired destinations. However, they could finalize deals with the Mavs and the Detroit Pistons.
Bryant refused to waive his no-trade clause unless the Lakers traded him to a destination of his choice. “I could have sworn that we had a deal done for Josh Howard and Jet (Jason Terry),” Cuban revealed on Wednesday, the final day of Bryant’s illustrious 20-year career.
Mark Cuban had it all worked out…
Cuban also revealed that the Mavs were ready to part with draft picks and taken back at least one contract from the Lakers to pull off a trade for Bryant. “I was telling all the stagehands at ‘Dancing With the Stars’ it was done,” said Cuban, who participated in the dance show as part of the celebrity cast in 2007. “Then Mitch (Kupchak) or Jerry Buss or whoever talked him (Bryant) out of it.”
At the time, the Mavs would have been a great destination for Bryant. They were coming off a trip to the NBA Finals and a regular season which included a franchise-high 67 victories. Also, Nowitzki was the reigning MVP of the league. Could you imagine if Kobe and Dirk played together? Wow.
“It would have been different. That’s all I can say. Woulda, coulda, shoulda,” speculated Cuban.
Last year, Bryant told Bill Simmons on Grantland’s “Basketball Hour” that Chicago Bulls was his No.1 choice but the Lakers couldn’t work out a deal with the Eastern conference team. Bryant had also revealed that Detroit were willing to trade Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and draft picks. “I gave you a list of teams I would be comfortable being traded to. Not Detroit,” Bryant said.
In fact, Nowitzki was willing to be traded for Bryant. “I do remember Dirk coming to me and saying, ‘Look, if you can trade me for Kobe, you’ve gotta do it. I was like, ‘Dirty, that’s not gonna happen’” revealed Mark Cuban, who was credit for Dallas winning their first NBA title in 2011.