It’s been a few years, but it’s still crazy that the Chris Paul to the Lakers trade was voided. For those who don’t remember, a three-team deal was in place that would send Paul to Los Angeles from New Orleans. But the league, which owned the then-Hornets, stepped in and voided the deal. It was one of the weirdest things that happened during David Stern’s tenure as commissioner.
A few days later, Paul was shipped to L.A., but not to the Lakers. You know the rest: he joined the Clippers, turned the team into “Lob City” with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and helped the organization go from one of the laughing stocks of the league to a perennial power out west.
But for how much fun this trade turned out to be, it does make some folks wonder what would have happened if we got Paul teaming up with Kobe Bryant for the next few years. It’s a fascinating scenario, and according to ESPN, the two spent time talking about how many titles they would have won right after the deal went down. Both of them discussed this before they face off on Tuesday night.
“You know me. My dream isn’t to win games,” Bryant recalled to ESPN this week. “It’s like, ‘How many of these titles are we going to win [together]?’ Because if we don’t win, we’re a failure.”
“It was crazy,” Paul told ESPN this week. “It was exciting. We talked about potentially being teammates and all that stuff like that. Then, in the blink of an eye, gone.”
While the Clippers have climbed to the top of the conference since the trade, the Lakers have steadily made their way to the bottom of the West. It is kind of unfortunate that the last few years of Lakers basketball have been so uninspiring, because Kobe deserves to go out on top. According to the Black Mamba, that very well could have happened if Paul came to town.
“Things would’ve been very, very, very different around here,” Bryant said, “with two of the most competitive people the league has ever seen.”
Maybe in an alternate universe somewhere, the Paul trade happens and the Lakers go on to win a title or two or three. Kobe goes out with more rings, the Lakers are in a great place for the future as Paul can carry the torch once Kobe retires, and the future of the Clippers is up in the air. Oh well, it’s a fun what if.