Chris Paul was famously supposed to be a member of the Los Angeles Lakers before David Stern swooped in.
Back in 2011, the Los Angeles Lakers were about to pull off the greatest finesse known to mankind. They had made a trade with the New Orleans Hornets that would send Chris Paul to Los Angeles and somehow, the Lakers would save $40 million in the process. At the time, the Hornets were in shambles and were technically owned by the league. Commissioner David Stern felt like the deal was a bit of a farce so he decided to veto it, much to the chagrin of Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, the Lakers, and fans of the purple and gold, all around the world.
Stern and Kobe have both passed on since then and recently, Paul joined Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes for an episode of the “All The Smoke” podcast. In the clip below, Paul talked about the vetoed trade and how it disappointed him greatly. It was his one chance to get to play with Kobe Bryant and it was ultimately squandered.
This trade is easily one of the biggest what-ifs in the history of the NBA. Had the trade been made, Paul could have had a title and Kobe could have matched Jordan’s six rings. In the end, the Lakers dynasty came to a screeching halt while Paul had an entertaining yet unsuccessful tenure with the Los Angeles Clippers.
At this point, all we can do is look back and wish things were different.