On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered their eighth consecutive loss against the Houston Rockets and remain the fourth worst team in the NBA. With the Lakers facing perhaps their most important off-season in nearly a decade, the franchise will have approximately $30 million in cap space to pursue big-name free agents.
More than a decade ago, Kobe Bryant became an unrestricted free agent and he nearly left the Lakers. While the five-time champion was close to signing with the Los Angeles Clippers, Michael Lee of the Washington Post reveals Kobe wanted to sign with the Washington Wizards and join forces with Michael Jordan:
Very few know that this seemingly laughable fantasy was nearly reality: More than a decade ago, Bryant wanted to get away from Los Angeles, and the team he wanted to join was the Wizards, where he would join forces with his mentor Michael Jordan.
Kobe confirmed that he wanted to ‘join forces’ with Jordan, but those plans quickly disappeared when Wizards management parted with his mentor in 2003 — a year before he became a free agent. While there were tough seasons when Kobe re-signed with the Lakers and he requested a trade in 2007, he eventually won two more championships in three straight NBA Finals appearances.
With Kobe suffering a torn rotator cuff earlier this week, it has not been announced if he will opt for season-ending surgery. If Kobe goes through with the surgery, expected recovery time is 4-6 months and it would mark his third consecutive season-ending injury.[divide]
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