As for the Lakers, considering what we know about them, they would’ve hounded every team in the league until locking down another superstar. For the first few years after, they would’ve been good – think mid-’90s Lakers with Van Exel, Eddie Jones and Cedric Ceballos – and probably exciting, too. But not even the most idiotic Laker fan would be abusing keyboards and online forums with LA LAKERZZ R GONNA BE DA CHAMPZZZZ! In fact, maybe they never hypnotize Memphis into giving them Pau Gasol, and instead end up with Marc Gasol (they had his rights at the time), who proceeds to become a celebrity in Los Angeles. Pau? If he didn’t go crazy in Memphis, he probably gets traded to some middling team, and is forever known as the guy who went 0-12 in the playoffs as his team’s No. 1 player. Ew. It’s hard to turn down a Gasol brother, especially when they’re free, but I bet without Kobe, the Lakers would’ve been thinking about someone bigger (err, better) than Pau Gasol and possible never look into it.
Andrew Bynum could’ve chased shots galore in Los Angeles. Phil Jackson probably throws up his hands in disgust, grabs his peace pipe and heads back out to the wilderness without passing Red Auerbach in career championships. The Celtics probably win two titles instead of one, which is bad news – Boston fans cheering about anything is bad news. Carmelo Anthony possibly leads the Nuggets to a championship in 2009 over Orlando, and then never feels the pull to go to New York. Everything could be different.
It would’ve been interesting to see if Dallas could put together a team capable of winning the 2011 NBA Finals. That Mavs team wasn’t the strongest or the quickest, and they definitely weren’t the most talented. They felt like a boxer in the eight round, knowing he’s taken too many punches to let the thing go on any longer, and ushers up one final gust of energy. They took on Dirk’s personality – never say die, do things awkwardly but efficiently and survive by coming together and believing rather than falling apart.
Bryant and Gasol were the perfect duo. Dirk would’ve fallen in line as the No. 2 as well, and would’ve gotten more wide open jumpers than at any other time in his life. But he was never an inside player. Would that matter? Maybe. But even though Dirk was a better player than the elder Gasol, I’m pretty sure Kobe (and the Lakers) are breathing a sigh of relief today that they never pulled the trigger.
And who knows, if Bryant ends up in Dallas, maybe Smush doesn’t get run out of the NBA and five years later, Parker is starting at the point for the Suns and is still being continuously outrageously overrated in every 2K game. Actually, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
What would these two franchises look like had this gone down?
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