(CBS) As Lakers guard Kobe Bryant continues to wind down the final year of his career, perhaps the best part of his de facto retirement tour is the stories that surface. With Bryant being such a legend and the Lakers being so bad, the praise flows and tales you hadn't previously heard are told.
A great one came Wednesday, when it was revealed that in summer 2007, the Lakers called the Cavaliers to inquire about whether budding star LeBron James would be available in a trade centered around he and Bryant, according to a report from ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst. The Cavaliers politely told the Lakers no, saying James was untouchable, according to ESPN.com.
At the time, Bryant was 28 and considered by most to be the game's best player, but he was disgruntled in Los Angeles then because the Lakers hadn't stocked the team with championship-contention talent around him after the trade of Shaquille O'Neal years earlier. So they were shopping Bryant, who held a no-trade clause and vetoed deals to the Pistons and Bulls, according to reports.
Talks didn't get nearly that deep with Cleveland, which knew James, then 22, was on the cusp of being the best player soon.
Even if the sides had agreed to a deal, it probably wouldn't have happened, as Bryant told ESPN.com that he'd have vetoed it, saying Chicago, Phoenix and San Antonio were on his list of desired teams. A deal with the Bulls broke down when Bryant didn't want forward Luol Deng to be included in the trade, believing he was a big piece to championship contention in Chicago.
As it turned out, Bryant stayed in Los Angeles, which traded for star big man Pau Gasol and climbed back to elite status. Bryant won the 2008 MVP, and the Lakers went to three straight NBA Finals, winning in 2009 and 2010.
James stayed in Cleveland until summer 2010, when he departed for Miami and led the Heat to four straight NBA Finals, winning titles in 2012 and 2013, before returning to the Cavaliers in summer 2014.
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