LeBron James has played in Cleveland for eight-plus season, and during that time, the Cavs had only once got an offer to trade him.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Cavs management got a call from the Lakers in 2007, asking if the team would consider what would have been the biggest blockbuster in NBA history: Kobe Bryant for LeBron James.
In 2007, Kobe was 28 years old, and averaging a league-high 32 points per game… but the Lakers hadn’t made it out of the playoffs’ first round in the three years after they trade Shaq to Miami.
At the time, Bryant was under contract for two more seasons, but couldn’t handling losing and demanded a trade.
Ultimately, the Cavs said no to the LeBron trade, and the Lakers moved on. Windhorst says the team came close to dealing Kobe to the Chicago Bulls and even agreed to terms with the Detroit Pistons on a trade centered around Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton… but Kobe, who had a no-trade clause, shot it down.
When asked about the LeBron trade, Kobe told ESPN that he would’ve have gone to Cleveland anyway, while LeBron didn’t say he ever heard about it, but said he believed it.
“If you give up one big fish, you got to give a big fish, too,” James said.