Following back-to-back title wins in 2009 and ’10, the Lakers had lined up a trade to bring in New Orleans’ Chris Paul. It was December by the time L.A. was able to organize the deal, but before it was finalized, then-NBA commissioner David Stern vetoed it for the sake of preserving league parity.
It’s a move that still haunts Lakers fans to this day and in a recent talk on Knuckleheads” podcast with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles, Chris Paul described his feelings on the nixed opportunity.
“I was on the phone with my brother and my agent, and all that. We figuring out a plane to get to New Orleans to get us to L.A… let’s just say my agent clicked over, said hold on, clicked over and then he came back on and he was like, stuttering. And we was hot. We was hot. Me and Kobe had talked, you know what I’m saying? We had talked already and all that. And it was a lot. It was a lot.”
Needless to say, Paul likely would have helped the Lakers win a third straight title. He would have had a ring, Kobe would have had six, and the course of NBA history would have changed forever.
In the end, it was the Clippers who ended up with CP3, but they were unable to capitalize on his tenure there and we’ll know what might’ve happened had he been allowed to join their biggest rivals.