It’s always intriguing to take a look at trade opportunities from the past that didn’t end up paying off. In 2007, The Los Angeles Lakers had some big decision to make in the post-era of Shaquille O’Neal.
Three seasons after Shaq’s departure, the Lakers hadn’t achieved much, missing the playoffs in one year and being eliminated by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the post-season in back-to-back years.
Kobe Bryant was begging for more talent to be added to the roster so General Manager Mitch Kupchak attempted to pull off an incredible deal that would have landed the franchise one of the best players in the league, Kevin Garnett.
Lakers: Kevin Garnett
Timberwolves: Celtics’ 5th pick (which was eventually Jeff Green), unknown Celtics’ young player, potentially the Lakers’ 19th overall pick (which ended up being Javaris Crittenton)
Pacers: Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom
Celtics: Jermaine O’Neal
It was seen as a bit of a long shot with so many franchises needing to be involved, if this was to end up working, the Lakers would have received one of the greatest big men in the game. The Los Angeles Lakers eventually had to try and make the deal with just the Timberwolves as the Celtics were not interested in the hypothetical outcome.
Kupchak offered the Timberwolves Bynum, Odom and the 19th pick for Garnett. Unfortunately for the franchise, the Timberwolves were quite concerned with the risk of Odom and Bynum and instead went after other young players. Kevin Garnett would end up leaving the West to join with the Boston Celtics.
The idea of watching Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett teaming up is amazing, it’s certainly unfortunate that we were never able to witness that. We saw first hand just how well Kobe and Shaq played together, KG is certainly a different player to Shaq but there’s a fair chance that the two could have brought home a championship together.
For Lakers fans, this is a tough pill to swallow knowing how the 2008 postseason played out, the Boston Celtics with their new big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were able to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. In an alternate timeline that the Garnett deal does pay off and he heads to Los Angeles, the Lakers probably go on to win the 2008 championship.
As for the Celtics, the franchise may have struggled in the postseason against teams such as the LeBron James led Cavaliers. This possibly results in a Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James Finals series which the Lakers probably win.
It’s hard to know what really would happen when you change one thing, it can change everything, the Lakers did go on to win the 2009 and 2010 championships without Kevin Garnett but it’s certainly possible that the franchise could have pulled off the very challenging three-peat.