Los Angeles Lakers fans are still talking about the one that got away in 2011 as Chris Paul never became a member of the team. He was supposedly on the way to the Staples Center, but that was never to be as the NBA, who owned the New Orleans Hornets at the time, said no.
The blockbuster trade that never was is considered by many fans to be the move that landed them where they are right now: in the NBA Lottery while hoping to nab the next franchise superstar. If he had gone to the Purple and Gold, things would have ended up going quite differently.
In principle, the Lakers had agreed to a three-team trade with the Hornets and the Houston Rockets. David Stern scuttled it before it ever got off the ground, but now he has revealed that the LakeShow could have still gotten CP3 on the Nunyo and Company podcast.
Stern said: “(My decision) was only based on what was good for New Orleans, or what was not good for New Orleans. It had nothing to do with the Lakers at all. And in fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal.
“We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with Kyle Lowry; and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first round draft pick. Not we, but my basketball folks. But Mitch Kupchack at the time panicked, and moved Odom to Dallas.
“So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it -- just about what was good for the then New Orleans Hornet.”
That has to be a body-blow for Lakers fans that were hoping to have secured Kobe’s successor by now. Having the Point God in the fold would have only helped ease things through and losing him was something that motivated the franchise to make a series of rash moves.
Kupchak also hasn’t had a chance to tell his side of the story to see what his thought process on the matter was. This revelation won’t buy him any goodwill with the fanbase on his way out as he was replaced by Rob Pelinka as the general manager this season.
It’s hard to imagine a world where CP3 and The Black Mamba played for the same team, but it almost happened. Now, the entire ordeal serves as one of the NBA’s best “What If” stories.