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Kobe Bryant still upset over vetoed trade, Chris Paul going to Clippers

Kobe Bryant still upset over vetoed trade, Chris Paul going to Clippers
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant sits on the bench during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 21. (Jonathan Bachman / Associated Press)

In a recent interview with GQ, Kobe Bryant couldn't help but imagine what could have been if Chris Paul had come to the Lakers instead of the Clippers.

In December 2011, the Lakers and the New Orleans Hornets agreed to a deal that would have sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to Houston, and Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic and a first-round pick to New Orleans.

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But then-commissioner David Stern vetoed the trade.

"The Lakers pulled off a trade that immediately set us up for a championship, a run of championships later, and which saved money," Bryant told GQ.

"Now, the NBA vetoed the trade. But the Lakers pulled that ... off, and no one would have thought it was even possible. The trade got vetoed, because they'd just staged the whole lockout to restrict the Lakers. [General Manager] Mitch [Kupchak] got penalized for being smart. But if we could do that..."

Days later, Paul was traded to the Clippers for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and a first-round pick. Under Paul, the Clippers have had three consecutive playoff appearances and two straight division titles. Meanwhile, in recent years the Lakers have floundered.

At the All-Star game in 2013, Bryant couldn't help but poke a little fun at the situation as his daughter and Paul's son, Little Chris, played together on the court.

Tweeted Bryant: "At least lil and baby Mamba can play together NBA can't veto this one Ha!"

Follow Melissa Rohlin on Twitter @melissarohlin

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