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Ben Gordon

Kobe Bryant, who was almost a Bull, has fond memories but no more rivalry with Michael Jordan

Kobe Bryant, who was almost a Bull, has fond memories but no more rivalry with Michael Jordan

Those were harrowing days for the Lakers in the unsettling spring and summer of 2007.

They were not a playoff team then, jettisoning Shaquille O'Neal three years earlier in favor of a petulant but wonderfully talented 25-year-old Kobe Bryant.

Unhappy with all the losing in Los Angeles while O'Neal partied, and won, in Miami, Bryant demanded a trade after the Steve Nash-led Phoenix Suns eliminated the Lakers in a quick 2007 first-round playoff series.

Bryant held all the aces, including a no-trade clause. He could choose his destination. The team at the top of his list is the one the Lakers play Sunday — the Chicago Bulls.

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