Los Angeles Lakers: Chris Paul and the biggest ‘what if’ in NBA history

 Looking back at one of the biggest ‘what ifs’ in NBA history, when Chris Paul was nearly traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Back in December of 2011, a possible three-way blockbuster trade between the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, and New Orleans Hornets was all but completed. This trade, which would forever be remembered as one of the biggest “what ifs” in NBA history, centered around the Lakers acquiring Chris Paul (from the Hornets).

The Rockets were set to acquire Pau Gasol (from the Lakers) in the deal while the Hornets were set to receive Lamar Odom (via Lakers), Goran Dragic (via Rockets), Kevin Martin (via Rockets), and Luis Scola (via Rockets).

Just when it appeared that the Lakers had shaken the Western Conference with a huge trade, it was quickly shot down as NBA commissioner David Stern vetoed the deal at the last minute.

[via Si.com]

“And acting on behalf of owners, we decided not to make it. I was an owner rep. There was nothing to ‘void.’ It just never got made.”

“When you’re the commissioner and you have two teams that are ticked off at you, as in the Lakers and Houston, and the GMs without wanting to be attributed, spend their time trashing you, the wrong impression can be granted. It was one of the few times I decided to just go radio silent and let it play out, and I got killed. So, the answer is: there was never a trade. It was never approved by me as the owner rep.”

It was one of the biggest stories of the year, and certainly changed the course of NBA – and Lakers – history.

There are many questions as to why the trade was vetoed by David Stern. By his explanation above, there was never a trade made by the teams involved. It simply could not go through.

With that said, and with that debate aside, can you imagine how the course of NBA history would have shifted had the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers had been approved by the league? Los Angeles could’ve had a roster centered around these pieces: Kobe Byrant, Paul, Antwan Jamison, Metta World Peace, and Dwight Howard.

How teams would’ve been able to guard the trio of Paul, Kobe, and Dwight – assuming they would all gel together – is beyond me.

Even if it may be hard to project now, that team would’ve been a nightmare to not only guard but to score against. It’s impossible to project whether this team would’ve won a championship together, or if they would’ve been able to get through the Big Three in Miami of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, but there’s probably a good chance we would’ve gotten a Kobe vs. LeBron NBA Finals showdown.

Had Kobe been given another championship-contending roster, perhaps he adds two more rings and further advances his name in the greatest of all-time rankings. Kobe, with seven NBA Championships, is probably second only to Michael Jordan (and even that’s a question to be had (depending on who you talk to).

Next: NBA: Ranking the last 10 No. 1 overall draft picks

Chris Paul was never truly a Los Angeles Laker, but it’s fun to look back at how much NBA history could’ve changed had this blockbuster deal would’ve gone through.

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