We have all heard about Kobe Bryant vetoing a trade to the Detroit Pistons in 2007 but according to former Los Angeles Lakers head coach, Phil Jackson, the Pistons offered another trade for Kobe during the 1999-2000 season.
According to Jackson, then Pistons GM Joe Dumars offered the Lakers a trade for Bryant that would have sent Pistons star Grant Hill to Hollywood. Jackson said that Bryant had actually requested to be traded and Jackson considered it…for a few seconds.
It happened in Jackson’s first season as Lakers coach, 1999-00. Jackson sat out the 1998-99 season after his semi-forced exit from the Chicago Bulls – go catch up on “The Last Dance” if you want more of the backstory of that saga – and came to the Lakers amid great fanfare with his six NBA rings.
In Jackson’s 2016 telling to his longtime confidante, Charlie Rosen, the Lakers were off to a good start while Bryant missed the first 15 games with a broken wrist suffered in preseason – Jackson says 10-1, though they were 7-3 in their first 10 games and 11-4 on Dec. 1 when Bryant returned – and he didn’t want to mess with the starting lineup so had Bryant coming off of the bench.
Right around that time, Jackson said, Bryant requested a trade.
“I thought about taking the Pistons up on an offer they made to trade Kobe for Grant Hill.”
Jackson: “Kobe was only averaging about 19 points per game. So Kobe called Jerry West and wanted to know how Jerry and Elgin Baylor both averaged 30 points. Kobe also said that he wanted to be traded. Of course, Jerry told me about the conversation. And for a few minutes I thought about taking the Pistons up on an offer they made to trade Kobe for Grant Hill. Make that a few seconds.”
Nation, had this trade went down, do you think the Pistons would have ended up winning multiple NBA titles? Do you trust that Dumars would have built a championship-caliber team around Kobe?