Mark Cuban says Dallas nearly traded for Kobe Bryant in 2007
As he performed on “Dancing With the Stars,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban apparently performed a tango with a celebrity off the ballroom floor.
Cuban contends that he nearly landed a fairly important Laker. You may know him. He goes by the name of Kobe Bryant.
“When I was doing ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ I was taking breaks because I was talking to Kobe’s agent because Kobe wanted to get traded,” Cuban said on the “Ben and Skin Show” on KESN-FM in Dallas. “Literally, between ‘Dancing With the Stars’ practices I had thought we traded for Kobe Bryant. I even talked to their owner and thought we were going to have done deal, and [Lakers GM] Mitch Kupchak changed [Kobe’s] mind and brought him back.”
Around that time in 2007, Bryant said he’d play anywhere. Even Pluto, so long as it wasn’t the Lakers. He had tired of playing with the likes of Smush Parker and Kwame Brown. Bryant was frustrated with the Lakers losing two consecutive first-round playoff meetings against the Phoenix Suns. He demanded in a profanity-laced tirade filmed on video that the Lakers shouldfor Jason Kidd.
“It wasn’t Dirk [Nowitzki] for Kobe,” Cuban said.
Then who would it have been? Jason Terry? Jerry Stackhouse? Devin Harris? Josh Howard? Not even a package of those players matched up to Bryant’s value. The Lakers entertained offers, most notably from the Chicago Bulls, but Kupchak has maintained since then that the Lakers never would’ve traded Bryant under any circumstances. The strategy paid off, considering the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol in a trade from Memphis a year later. They then won two NBA championships in three Finals appearances.
That’s why Cuban’s claim that the Lakers nearly traded Bryant to Dallas seems as believable as Cuban’s recent argument that the Mavericks are better off without signing Deron Williams. Cuban may have tried having a dance with Bryant and the Lakers. But the Lakers likely refused to tango as soon as they were approached.
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