Kevin Garnett considered joining Lakers in 2007
Bryant has said he believes his infamous summer of 2007, when he demanded to be traded, added urgency to make a move. General Manager Mitch Kupchak has acknowledged the need to appease Bryant, but maintained that all trades hinge on the negotiations.
Regardless of whose account is more valid, Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett told Sports Illustrated's Dan Patrick that the drama surrounding Bryant actually kept him from going to the Lakers when they were in trade talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2007.
"I was pretty close [to going to L.A.] to be honest," Garnett said. "What disturbed me about the whole Laker situation was Kobe [Bryant] and Phil [Jackson] at the time. They was pretty bad. That situation was something I didn't want to get into. It was my choice. There was a lot going on and I didn't want to be a part of it."
Still, it's a stretch for anyone with the Lakers to lament what might have been. No doubt, securing Garnett would've made the Lakers an instant contender. The move could've also denied the Celtics the 2008 NBA title. But consider the reporting from The Times' Mike Bresnahan and Mark Heisler that indicated the Lakers offered Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum in that deal. The report also indicated that Kevin McHale, the former Timberwolves' vice president of basketball operations, didn't like the offer.
The Lakers, instead, managed to land another all-star forward, Gasol, by giving up Kwame Brown, Aaron McKie, Javaris Crittenton, two first-round picks and the rights to Pau's brother, Marc, who the Lakers drafted with a second-round pick in 2007. Even though Pau disappeared in the 2011 NBA playoffs and Marc has emerged as another all-star, the Lakers turned out just fine.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Kobe Bryant drives in for a layup against the Celtics in Boston last season. Credit: Getty Images