Chris Paul should be a Los Angeles Laker.
Kobe was very careful in choosing his words when asked the question, but finally let his feelings be known:
“Legally speaking, yes. David Stern speaking, no.”
The vetoed trade single-handedly changed the fortunes of numerous NBA franchises including the Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic, New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Kobe also took the time to share a conversation he had with Paul after news of the trade broke and Paul believed he was going to be a Laker:
“I was working out and he called me and said ‘It’s a done deal I’m coming.’ There were mixed emotions because it hurt that we were giving up teammates I was close with. And like 30 minutes later he calls me back and says ‘Man you won’t believe what happened!! They stopped the trade. This is some bull…”
We can only speculate what could’ve been with a backcourt of Kobe and Chris Paul, but what also stood out was that Kobe was legitimately disappointed that he would be losing Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom even though it meant bringing in a point guard the caliber of Paul.
Kobe and Gasol have grown close over the years as evidenced by Kobe being bothered by the Lakers constant shopping of the Spainiard and his possible departure would have been a huge blow to Kobe.
While it hurts to hear how excited Paul was to join the Lakers and dream of the possibilities, David Stern’s word rang final. Plus after the Clippers draft blunder years earlier, I guess they were owed one.
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