Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

What would have happened if the Lakers had traded Kobe Bryant?

Usually around 9 a.m., Byron Scott would arrive at the Forum for the morning shootaround. By the time he arrived, a young rookie by the name of Kobe Bryant would already be there.

"Coming in and watching him shoot when there were no lights on, I would shake my head. I knew he had it in him," said Scott, the former Lakers guard who now coaches the Cleveland Cavaliers. "I knew he had a goal in mind and that was to be the best. And he wasn't going to stop until he was able to obtain that goal."

Bryant's five rings and ninth-place standing on the NBA's all-time scoring list show he may very well be on his way. But stop for a minute. What would have happened had the Lakers followed Bryant's initial demands for a trade during the 2007 off-season? That question popped up following the Lakers' 112-57 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday because it's obvious how much LeBron James' departure has sapped the Cavaliers organization. Scott maintained that Cleveland could be a playoff-contending team next season -- with the big qualifier that the Cavaliers need to make significant off-season changes. But what about the Lakers? Would they have gone through similar turmoil had the they traded Bryant?

"It's quite a question," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "My counsel to Dr. [Jerry] Buss was when Shaquille [O'Neal] left and we traded Shaquille, whenever a big impact player leaves, there never is an equal amount that can be traded that fills the vacuum in numbers for one superstar in basketball."

Interestingly enough, Jackson shared in his book "The Last Season" that he had asked Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak to trade Bryant for Jason Kidd, believing Kidd would have filled the playmaking role without all the headaches Bryant and Jackson suffered when they first worked together. Also consider that the trade of O'Neal to the Miami Heat brought in Lamar Odom, and Laker fans know well the value that he has brought to the team this season. Beyond Bryant's talent level, it's also necessary to consider his other influences. Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes all shared that their decision to sign with the Lakers was in large part because of Bryant's influence. It was hard enough for the Lakers to experience a season with a failed playoff appearance and two first-round exits to Phoenix before advancing to three consecutive NBA Finals. One can only imagine how much different the Lakers would appear if Bryant and all the moving parts he influenced weren't the same.

That's why Jackson offered to Denver Coach George Karl during training camp that Karl should "hang tough" regarding the uncertainty regarding Carmelo Anthony, a situation that is ongoing.

"It's not an easy situation for a coach because of your cross-purposes. Sometimes the management has to do what their part is and the coach has to both be a player's advocate, but also you're in the management's side so you have to hold the management's viewpoint. So sometimes you have to sit on the teeter-totter to balance everything out.

"We had to let it play itself out. There's no play involved, but there's timing," he continued. "To be appropriately concerned about Kobe's wishes and listen to what they were, entertain them and then negotiate from a position where Dr. Buss could negotiate from. It was that nothing we could possibly have in a trade situation could possibly replicate what you bring to this team."

So, what would have happened to the Lakers had the summer of 2007 resulted in Bryant leaving the Lakers, as many feared? Share your thoughts and scenarios in the comments section below.

-- Mark Medina
twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

 
Comments () | Archives (42)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Win #14 in a row at clippers tonight then 3 more to beat Lakers record
I am the King

Posted by: King James Version | January 12, 2011 at 03:23 PM

-----------------------

14 + 3 = 17...

LOL you are confused...you need to win 17 Championship Titles to beat the Laker's record...not 17 regular season games...you need to win 34 of those to beat the Laker record...

No wonder King James teams never win the big one...look at his fans...LMAO

What is he a King of again...oh yes, King of futility...

Posted by: LEWSTRS | January 12, 2011 at 03:28 PM

MM - What would happen if they never attacked us on 9-11...

What would have happened if the Lakers had traded Kobe Bryant?

HELL!

Ahh...the road not taken. What if?

It's funny, but even when it looked like Kobe could possibly leave the Lakers, I believed that it was his destiny to be a lifetime Laker. During the Smush/Kwame era, I felt that the Laker organization would turn things around and be able to surround Kobe with the pieces to make the franchise relevant again. I've seen enough sports in my day to know that anything can happen in the sporting world. But, I always felt, that deep down, Kobe really loves the Lakers. There's a part of him that seperates the business aspect of the game and reverts back to a child-like love for the Laker franchise. Kobe would never have been happy playing for another franchise. And I think a part of him always knew that. I'm certainly glad things turned out the way they have. Because I heart the Lakers and Kobe too.

@KOBEMVP888.... Thanks for the congrats, counselor. And you obviously know how to play tough blogger-to-blogger defense. While Andrew is not the only factor in why the Lakers have won 7 of the 8 games since he started, he definitely is the catalyst that makes the defense work and Phil himself acknowledged that the timing of the defensive tweaks was based on Andrew’s return to the starting lineup and ability to anchor the paint. As for Pau playing soft, I have been very critical of Pau’s play so far this year. I was thrilled to see him play tough defense last night. As I said before, he is the best power forward in the league but has not played like it this year.
...........................................
@FRMKT... Thanks for congrats and glad to see you supporting Drew so strongly. I know you had your concerns like all of us so hopefully the young man will remain healthy and help lead the team to a three-peat. If Drew can play like this for the rest of the year, it totally changes the franchises post-Kobe prospects from questionable to promising. I truly believe Drew is playing his best ever right now, primarily because he is playing a power low post game at both ends. Let’s hope Kobe and the team continue to play inside-out basketball. If they do, we will win.
.........................................
TOM

What would have happened if the Lakers traded Kobe Bryant? The end of the world as we know it. And I wouldn't feel fine.

What happens if the Lakers had traded Kobe...

He plays with Allen Iverson in Turkey and they do a 6Peat...lol

LEWSTRS,

I think what King James was referring to was the NBA record of 16 consecutive road wins set by the 71/72 Lakers team that was part of the lakers 33 game streak.

If the Heat win 3 more on the road they break that record.

The only thing I know is that if the Lakers had traded Kobe Bryant, there'd be a lot less Kobe haters on the blog right now.

@LROB... Thanks for the congrats.
@BRONX... Always appreciate kind words from another Lakers/Yankees fan.
@TIDAL WAVE... I agree 100% that Drew should be a starter in the All-Star game. Why should the fans vote be ignored and Stern allowed to name another player at another position? Game’s in LA and Drew has over a half million fan votes, twice that of any other West center than Yao.
@HOBBITMAGE... How about a round of applause for Drew who blocked 5 shots last night?
.........................................
TOM

Last night I took some flak for one small criticism of Phil with some people totally missing the point even though others actually made my point without realizing it.
It was even suggested that we should "bow down" to Phil as if he was a supreme being and to "go root for the Cavs".
I'm not going to rehash that issue, but how about this:

Phil wanted to trade one of the greatest players ever for Jason Kidd.

My point, once again, is that he isn't perfect and that pointing out a flaw in Phil Jackson or any other Laker doesn't mean one isn't a "real" Laker fan.

If we had traded Kobe, Fisher wouldnt be in the league right now.

What would have happened if the Lakers traded Kobe Bryant? The end of the world as we know it. And I wouldn't feel fine.

Posted by: Rick Friedman | January 12, 2011 at 03:51 PM

***

Leonard Bernstein!

[dbdh]

Art - thanks for the explanation...still...who cares...more power to them if they do...what's next...beating a team by 56 points...lol

There is only one stat...16 going on 17...

Rick - EXACTLY how I feel too.

LEWSTRS,

Well, I do care. I like that that record belongs to the Lakers.
I don't like that it might belong to Lebron and the Heat.
Lets' go Clippers!

Art - I must agree with you. I like the Lakers keeping as many records in house as possible.

This is for all of us tonight - not just Jon K:

GO CLIPPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

The real question should be, "What if Magic hadn't retired from the League after he contracted (or 'attained' as he had stated that fateful day) the HIV virus back in 1991?"

A lot of dominoes wouldn't have fallen the way they did after November '91 if that didn't happen. You're welcome, Michael Jordan.

Magic's abrupt departure was matched only by his meteoric rise to prominence in his rookie year. Shocking.

DBDH!

We would have been just fine. We had Sasha, Mihm, Kwame, Smush, and Walton. What more do you need?

at flask what more do you need ...kobe lol without kobe the lakers are as good as the bulls

Not much, perhaps a couple of more years of re-building. The Lakers organization knows how to win. Dr. Buss is willing to spend to have a winning organization. The players would've been different, but the Lakers would've been back to Championship level quickly enough. While Kobe would've been the best player in a Clippers uniform but would not have any more Championships.

Kobe would of Been Killing us, year after year somewhere else!

That would of been the worst trade in the history of the NBA!

Drew is definitely an AllStar.
No doubt about it,
Go on-line an go vote for Kobe and Drew

BandWagon!!!

Go Vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

N O W !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Lakers may not have the last two chips, because you can't get fair value trading one of the greatest players ever...in his prime. But no one is bigger than the Laker organization. Not Kobe, Shaq, Kareem, Wilt, Jerry etc.

Phil wanted to trade one of the greatest players ever for Jason Kidd.

My point, once again, is that he isn't perfect and that pointing out a flaw in Phil Jackson or any other Laker doesn't mean one isn't a "real" Laker fan.

Posted by: Art - FL Laker Fan | January 12, 2011 at 04:06 PM
------------------

Art,

Good point. Phil wanted to traded Kobe for Kidd. Kobe wanted to trade Drew for JKidd, which would've been a big mistake IMHO. Shaq wanted a rebounder and shooter. Hence, Eddie and Elden were traded for GMoney and JR Reid. That's why it's best to let the players play, coaches coach and the GM to make the personnel decisions...with player/coach input.

Even as a lifetime Laker fan, when Kobe wanted traded, I was with him. With the team around him, he had no chance at another Ring. However, Doc and Mich knew better, kept Kobe and placed a better team around him, thus three more trips to the Finals and 2 RINGS!!!

If we had traded Kobe, Fisher wouldnt be in the league right now.

Posted by: Magia32 | January 12, 2011 at 04:07 PM
___________

LOL LOL... Poor Fish, he just can't get a break!

If only we could go back in time... if I were GM I would have traded Kobe for Mcgrady, Bynum for Jremain Oniel, build the team around Javaris Crittendon, and bet everything I had n the 16-0 Patriots winning the superbowl over the Giants!

If the Lakers had traded Kobe we would have know that Mitch was crazy.

I can't imagine when he retires. The game will be empty without him.

Glad he's still a Laker!!

If we had traded Kobe, Fisher wouldnt be in the league right now.

Posted by: Magia32 | January 12, 2011 at 04:07 PM

On a serious note, I think Fish is a bit better than we give him credit for. He was playing well with Utah.

Hmmm let me test the waters before I enter the latest Drew discussion (Dipping toe in water…well its frozen here in Michigan so maybe I should stay out, but here goes)


Drew is gettting the bulk of the praise on the blog for the Lakers improved play. Yes, he deserves his share of the credit, but so does the new defensive scheme and the Lakers "re-dedication" to playing defense.


If all the other pieces were in place but Kobe, Pau or LO was out of the lineup and just returning (like Drew is).....and all of the above factors were in place...I believe the Lakers would be showing similar or more incremental improvement.


Theo played in 8 games this season avg 8 min per game. The Lakers were 8-0 in those games. Drew has started in 8 games avg 28 mpg. The Lakers are 7-1 in those games. The Laker gave up 99.6 ppg with Theo and are giving up 88.6 in games Drew started. Remove Drew from the team an insert Theo in his minutes and the Lakers are not a championship team.


Like I posted a few days ago...remove Kobe, Pau, LO or Drew from this team and they're not a championship team....possible Ron Ron fits into that category as well.


Yes, some are going overboard with their praise for Drew (hype) and I can understand a backlash if this persists, but consider LO has got major props on the blog all season. Kobe always gets his due...he's the only name that various people have in their blog name. Pau gets universal praise from the basketball world. This is Drew's time in the sun and I understand his strongest supporters rejoicing in it like proud parents.

LEWSTRS,

Well, I do care. I like that that record belongs to the Lakers.
I don't like that it might belong to Lebron and the Heat.
Lets' go Clippers!

Posted by: Art - FL Laker Fan | January 12, 2011 at 04:19 PM

-------

All records are meant to be broken...Just like the Lakers will get #18 and have the most Championships in league history...

Let's not get greedy...besides they need to win 4 more...so it's still safe for now...and if they do beat it...I won't lose no sleep over it...

@Lrob

Shut your pie hole and Cease and Desist!
No starting internal Laker/Blog Wars!
Leave that cr@p to Princess Jimmy out in SouthBeach.

The Kraken has been unleashed and there is no stopping him and the Lakers,

Ride the Wave or get the H3LL Out of the Way,

BandWagon!!!

the question is, what would have happened to Kobe if he would have left the Lakers.

if kobe was traded no more nba games will be played

If Kobe was traded for Jason Kidd while we still had Gary Payton, all hell would have broken loose between Kidd and Payton and then Kobe would have spent the rest of his life making the Lakers pay.

Thank God that didn't happen.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

LakerTom,

you wrote: How about a round of applause for Drew who blocked 5 shots last night?

my response: I would *LOVE* to give Bynum props for blocking 5 shots,
but as you and everybody else knows [ per KobeMVP888 ] that stat would
be in the box score.

Box Score? BOX SCORE??? There's nothing important in the box score?
How dare you bring in the box score? The box score MEANS NOTHING!
NOTHING!!!

Kobe came into the Lakers and had something in his mind which was to make it to the top. He had a goal in mind. He wanted to have a team. He knew he was gonna be influential enough to get things moving around the franchise and set the boat right. From the top office, Dr. Buss and Mith Kupchak did what they had to do. PJ kept the players steady. Kobe kept the rowers rowing.

This line- up of power people is the reason why the Lakers is such an elite team. They're familiar with a tradition of excellence... something which the Cavs don't know, which LBJ wanted but wasn't mature enough to understand what it took. He's a good player but he recognizes no one above him.

It was a relief Dr. Buss had those championships with Fish and Kobe, he had enough ammo to hit some targets and then some.

Win #14 in a row at clippers tonight then 3 more to beat Lakers record
I am the King

Posted by: King James Version | January 12, 2011 at 03:23 PM

(AHAHAHAHAHA so desperate for sense of achievement you look at Laker's road winning streak record?? that's funny. now its 17 more road wins to go to beat the record AHAHAHA!!)


Kobe may not be the most important player in Lakers (at least not more important than what Andrew, Pau and Odom brings to the game) but that doesn't mean that he's not a leader. Derek and Kobe has brought great combination of leadership to the team. Without Kobe, there probably wouldn't have been Derek either to come back to.

Also, Kobe wasn't around, Lakers would be even more inconsistent than they were earlier this season. Apparently that was one of the reason why Lakers struggled the way they did with Kobe's discontinuation of practicing with the team. It seems like its Kobe that reminds the team what's at stake here.

so if Kobe was traded?? shudder...

what if my grandma had balls? then she wouldve been my grandpa.

I always wondered if Kobe had stayed in the same gym, but simply switched jerseys, after Shaq left. Became a Clipper. He would have had 3 good years of a 20-10 player inside (Brand), along with some good wingmen. Never forget, the modern Laker era began when Kobe started getting 20-10 inside from BYNUM. Then Drew got injured, and we got Pau. But everybody forgets that we had already started winning again with Drew's 20-10 inside ...

pure foolishness... we would still be rebuilding. to be an elite franchise you have to have an elite player to help form the nucleus of that team. who would be dumb enough to trade a then 29 year old superstar? thank god mitch wasnt... he has evolved into a great gm.

im sorry but i dont think there is an "IF" with Kobe and the Lakers.
it's like saying "what if 1+1 didnt = 2?"

im sorry, but this will never in any existence or universe.

same with Kobe being a Laker. there is no if.


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...