Dallas Mavericks governor Mark Cuban made a guest appearance on the J.J. Redick podcast, where he talked about different things mostly related to the NBA and basketball in general. With over 20 years of experience running a successful NBA franchise, Cuban accumulated many stories and insights up until now. One of the things he talked about on the podcast was when the Mavericks got a deal in place for none other than the late great Kobe Bryant.
This was back in 2007, and at that time, Kobe was unhappy with the Lakers as an organization because they weren’t doing enough to surround him with players capable of winning a championship. He demanded a trade and Cuban, and the Mavs were ready to make an offer for the Lakers that involved several players and first-round picks. Even Dirk Nowitzki was on board to become Kobe’s new teammates and jokingly said Cuban can trade him for Kobe because he would do the same thing in his position.
We had one deal, and I thought we traded for Kobe. I thought we had a deal for Josh Howard, Jason Terry, and a couple of first-round picks. I worked it out with Jerry Buss with the Lakers, and we agreed upon on that. Dirk calls me and says, ‘If you want to trade me for Kobe, I would make that deal in a heartbeat”. I was like no, that is not going to happen.Mark Cuban, via J.J. Redick Podcast
Unfortunately, the deal never came true, mostly because of Jerry West, who convinced Kobe to stay with the Lakers. West had a significant influence on Kobe ever since he drafted him out of high-school, and Kobe trusted him, which eventually made him stay with the Lakers with whom he finally won two additional championships.
It all fell apart. Jerry West called Kobe and said, you can’t do this, so he killed the deal. He demanded a trade, and we worked it out, and he was ready to come to us.Mark Cuban, via J.J. Redick Podcast
Who knows how the NBA landscape would’ve looked like if Kobe actually got traded to the Mavericks. A dynamic duo of Kobe and Dirk would definitely make a lot of noise in the NBA and potentially win a few championships together, thus change the NBA history as we all know it today. Instead, Kobe stayed with the Lakers and etched his name as one of the greatest and most loyal players to ever play the game, which essentially immortalized himself as a true basketball legend.