Basketball fans everywhere will forever remember Kobe Bryant as one of the greatest and most influential figures in NBA history. He spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five championships.
But just how close was he to becoming a member of the Detroit Pistons? Apparently, very close.
CBS Sports’ Ken Berger revealed in 2016 that a deal was in place to send Bryant to the Pistons in exchange for Richard Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey, Jason Maxiell and two first-round draft picks.
“The deal was done,” a person directly involved with the negotiations told Berger. “We were just waiting to set up the conference call with the league office.”
But it was reportedly a last minute meeting with Lakers owner Jerry Buss that nixed the deal.
“Buss had been in Spain while the trade talks were taking place,” Berger wrote. “The quixotic billionaire and architect of multiple Lakers dynasties had requested one last shot at talking Bryant out of the deal. … With that, the Pistons knew the deal was dead.”
Of course, Bryant and the Lakers battled the Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals, which Detroit won in a quick five games.
How strange would it have been to have seen Kobe wearing the Pistons uniform?
– – Quotes courtesy of NESN Link – –