Wednesday, October 5 2022

The summer of 2007 was a scary and dispirited time for the Los Angeles Lakers.

They were deeply mired in mediocrity with seemingly no way out, and after losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Phoenix Suns for the second year in a row, Kobe Bryant went off.

He infamously demanded a trade, and with just two years to go before he could opt out of his contract and become a free agent, it looked like the beginning of the end of the Lakers as millions had come to know them over the years.

Once owner Dr. Jerry Buss reluctantly agreed to see what he could get for the Black Mamba, some offers reportedly started coming in, and one was from Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks.

Cuban talked about the process of trying to trade for Bryant in an interview with Bleacher Report.

The trade fell apart for the Mavs

The loquacious Mavs owner says that he negotiated with Buss on the terms of a deal, but it didn’t materialize. Interestingly, Cuban seems to think that someone who had nothing to do with basketball may have played a role.

“I thought it (the trade) was done. I was in Dancing with the Stars, and we practiced a lot, like seven, eight hours a day, ’cause I needed it. I was going back and forth with Dr. Buss…he said look, ‘I think we might be parting ways with Kobe.’ I remember it vividly because there was a PA (production assistant) named Elvis. …and he was Kobe, Kobe, Kobe all the time. So it started to happen and I started telling him [Elvis] about it, and that was the kiss of death, ’cause the minute I told Elvis, it all fell apart.”

But Cuban admitted that there was a bigger reason why Bryant never became a Maverick.

“I guess Mitch Kupchak talked Kobe into staying. …when a guy that’s key to your team wants to leave, you’re going to do everything you can to keep him.”

At the time, Bryant had a no-trade clause in his contract, which allowed him to veto any potential deal he was involved in. That may have been the Lakers’ biggest saving grace at the time.

Of course, he stayed, and the team acquired Pau Gasol in February, which was easily the miracle trade the team and its fans had been wanting for a long time. It immediately led to three straight NBA Finals appearances and back-to-back world championships.

It all made Bryant’s trade demand merely a footnote while leaving Cuban dreaming of what could’ve been between the Mamba and Dirk Nowitzki.



Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

Source: Yahoo Sports


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