Back in the 2011/12 NBA offseason, we had a big chance to see Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul team up in Los Angeles, which would have been a huge move for the Los Angeles Lakers, who had won the championship just two years before that.
CP3 wasn't happy in New Orleans and he wanted to face a new challenge in the league. The Lakers knew that and they got to work to get the talented point guard, who would have taken their game to the next dimension alongside Kobe Bryant. In the end, nothing happened and people were left with a bad taste in their mouth, not understanding what was going on in this whole situation.
Well, Jeanie Buss recently joined Showtime's "All The Smoke" podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, where she revealed more details about what happened during those days and what led David Stern and the NBA (then owning the Hornets) to call off a trade that was almost done (1:18:55).
“As we’re in this room, ratifying the CBA with the union and voting on revenue sharing, all of the sudden, there’s kind of this rumor that goes around the room about a trade… There’s no way trade could be happening if we’re all in this room, doing league business. Except for the general manager of the [Hornets] felt that he had the authority to make a trade.”
“The trade was happening while everybody is in this room, so teams felt like, ‘How is that possible? We didn’t get a chance to make a trade for Chris Paul.’ So, they all attacked the league and said, ‘This wasn’t fair.”
“It wasn’t the NBA trying to keep the Lakers from Chris Paul; it was about David Stern had a responsibility to make sure that it was a trade that he would approve.”
“So, now he just calls off the trade and wants everybody to cool down because now you had a lot of teams thinking there was some funny business going on, but it wasn’t. It was just by coincidence.”
So, a misunderstanding led Mr. Stern to cancel all of this, open the door for new teams and Paul ended up landing in Los Angeles but to play with the Clippers. Kobe joined forces with an old Steve Nash, who couldn't do what people expected from him, and Dwight Howard, who spent more time fighting with Bryant and Nash than playing well for the purple and gold.
Instead of playing together, Kobe and Paul starred in very interesting duels when their teams clashed. We'll never know what would have happened if they were allowed to join forces but it's good to imagine they would have been a deadly duo at the Staples Center.