In a chat with Taylor Rooks last week, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban lit the internet on fire with the story of how his team almost landed Kobe Bryant in 2007.
According to Cuban, he thought the deal was done before last-minute circumstances led to Bryant returning to the Purple and Gold.
"Yeah, I thought it was done," said Cuban. "So I was on 'Dancing With the Stars' and we practiced a lot, like 7-8 hours a day. I was going back and forth with Dr. Buss, and he called me and said, 'look, we think we might be parting ways with Kobe.' I remember it vividly because there was a PA named Elvis and he was Kobe, Kobe, Kobe all the time. So it started to happen and I started telling him about it. And that was the kiss of death. Because the minute I told Elvis, it all fell apart."
It was a really neat story that had many fans pondering what the NBA might be like today had Bryant been traded to Dallas as Cuban originally believed.
But, in a recent article by Marc Stein, sources close to the Lakers' thinking at the time deny that Kobe was ever really 'close' to being sent to Texas.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban caused a bit of a stir last week in a sitdown with Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks, revisiting a story he has told before (video below) about his belief that a trade with the Lakers to acquire a then-disgruntled Kobe Bryant leading into the 2007-08 season was essentially "done." The proposed deal, which Cuban said he was negotiating directly with Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, would have resulted in a package headlined by Jason Terry, Josh Howard and future Dallas draft picks going to L.A. Yet two sources familiar with the Lakers' thinking at the time contend that the trade, from their perspective, was not as close to completion as Cuban sensed. One source said that the Lakers took only one proposed trade that summer to Bryant to gauge his willingness to waive the no-trade clause he possessed ... to Detroit rather than Dallas. Bryant vetoed the trade to the Pistons headlined by Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince instantly and wound up reporting to training camp when the Lakers, in circumstances reminiscent of Brooklyn's now, stopped looking for trades. Bryant ultimately had his concerns about the Lakers' ability to content post-Shaquille O'Neal assuaged when L.A. managed halfway through the season to acquire Pau Gasol from Memphis.
Kobe in Dallas would have been a wild and exciting ride for everyone, but in the end, it just wasn't meant to be. While Kobe did grow frustrated with the makeup of his team, his heart was always in Los Angeles, and it's unlikely he was actually ever going to leave the franchise.
In terms of options, the Mavericks would have been a solid choice, and clearly, Mark Cuban was willing to give up whatever it would have taken to acquire the superstar shooting guard.