The summer of 2007 was a scary and stressful time for the Los Angeles Lakers.
They were so deep in mediocrity that they couldn’t seem to get out, and after losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Phoenix Suns for the second year in a row, Kobe Bryant was out.
Unfortunately, he demanded a trade, and with just two years remaining on his contract and becoming a free agent, it looked like the beginning of the end for the Lakers that millions of people have come to know over the years.
Once owner Dr. Jerry Buss reluctantly agreed to see what he could get for the Black Mamba, some offers reportedly started coming in, including one from Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks.
In an interview with Bleacher Report, Cuban talked about the process of trying to trade for Bryant.
The trade fell apart for the Mavs.
The tight-lipped Mavs owner said he negotiated the terms of the deal with Buss, but it didn’t happen. Interestingly, Cuban thinks someone with nothing to do with basketball may have played a role.
“I thought (the trade) was done. I was on Dancing with the Stars, and we rehearsed a lot, like seven, eight hours a day, ’cause I wanted it. I was going back and forth with Dr. Buss…he said, ‘I think we’re going to break up with Kobe.’ I remember very well that there was a PA (Production Assistant) named Elvis. …and it was always cap, cap, cap. So I started being and telling him. [Elvis] About it, and that was the kiss of death, because the minute I told Elvis, everything fell apart.
But Cuban admits there’s a big reason why Bryant never became a Maverick.
“I think Mitch Kupchak talked Kobe into staying. When someone key to your team wants to leave, you do everything you can to keep them.
At the time, Bryant had a no-trade clause in his contract, which allowed him to reject any deal he was involved in. That might be the Lakers’ biggest saving grace of the season.
The story continues
Of course, he stayed, and the team acquired Pau Gasol in February, which was simply the miracle trade that the team and its fans had been looking for for so long. It immediately led to three straight NBA Finals appearances and back-to-back World Championships.
All of this was just a footnote to Bryant’s trade interest, and Cuban dreaming of what could happen between Mamba and Dirk Nowitzki.
Story first appeared on LeBron Wire