It could have happened: Kobe for LeBron, Pippen for the Sonics, Harden for the Warriors, Curry for the Suns ...

These transfers could change the history of the NBA and were close to occurring. The Lakers were able to take Barkley, Kevin Garnett ...


During each summer, after each Christmas ... the phones smoke and the NBA general managers ask questions, ask questions, test ... The League can change almost at any time, there are hardly any names outside the conversations and everything can happen: many times it happens. But many others do not, and transfer that could change the history of the NBA haunt the offices but die, sometimes in the initial phase and sometimes with the conversations already closed. Changes of course that leave the protagonists right or wrong, sometimes a simple matter of luck or revisionism when you look back. But it is vertigo to do it and discover that operations like these are not crazy rumors but facts that were about to be signed and materialized:

CHARLES BARKLEY TO THE LAKERS IN 1992

TRANSFER: The Lakers received Charles Barkley and Ron Anderson and the Sixers received James Worthy and Elden Campbell.

Charles Barkley has told this story many times, which happened in 1992: when he thought he was going to the Lakers he started drinking ... and drunk he had to play with the Sixers, who had stopped the operation: "My agent called me a Tomorrow he told me that the Sixers had transferred me to the Lakers. So he went to lunch and I started drinking, I was happy to go to the Lakers. But three hours later the fucking phone rang and he was my agent again, now to tell me that the Sixers had backed out. So I went to play with them that night. " Later, on June 17, he was traded to the Suns by Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang and Tim Perry. With the Arizona he was MVP and reached the 1993 Finals, in which they could not with the Bulls of Michael Jordan. The Lakers, for their part, ran out of the swing they had hoped for: They didn't win a playoff series until 1995, and they didn't play the Finals until 2000, the first year of the Kope Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal threepeat.

SCOTTIE PIPPEN TO THE SUPERSONICS IN 1994

TRANSFER: The Sonics welcomed Scottie Pippen and took Shawn Kemp and Ricky Pierce.

The Bulls' second threepeat may never have occurred, and the Sonics, meanwhile, were on the verge of recovering the player they drafted in 1987 (No. 5) and sent to Chicago that same night: Scottie Pippen, Michael's great squire Jordan. In 1994, in the midst of Jordan's first break, Bulls and Sonics discussed trading Pippen and Shawn Kemp. In 2018 Jordan himself, according to Sam Smith, told Geroge Karl (coach of the Sonics) that he wouldn't even think about it. And then, back in 2018, he recognized on ESPN that if that operation had been done, perhaps he would not have returned to the Bulls in 1995: "Probably not. He could have played with Shawn, but it would not have been the same as Scottie." Precisely, the Sonics were the rival to which they defeated the Bulls (of Jordan and Pippen) in the Finals of 1996, the first of the second threepeat.

TRACY MCGRADY TO THE SIXERS IN 1999

TRANSFER: Tracy McGrady and a first round for the Sixers, Larry Hughes for the Raptors.

Billy King, the general manager who was marked in the Nets by the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett operation that sank the Brooklyn ones, was in the Sixers when they almost got the Raptors to hit Larry Hughes for Tracy McGrady ... and a first round. At the time there wasn't as much of a difference between the two players as could be seen soon after, but still ... McGrady would have made it to a Sixers that had Allen Iverson and played the Finals in 2001. Both Iverson and T-Mac , they could have formed a legendary backcourt.

ALLEN IVERSON TO DETROIT PISTONS IN 2000

TRANSFER: A very complex operation that would have sent Allen Iverson and Matt Geiger to the Pistons, Toni Kukoc to the Lakers, Eddie Jones of the Hornets to the Sixers and Glen Rice of the Lakers to the Sixers .

Ira Winderman, of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, confirmed that this operation was well underway and that it was stopped by the trade kicker (percentage that was taken in case of transfer) that Matt Geiger had. Iverson was MVP and played the Finals the following season, 2000-01. And Glen Rice went to the Knicks in the multiple operation that sent Patrick Ewing to the Knicks and Horace Grant to the Lakers, where he was a Luxury companion for Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, with whom he was champion in 2001 ( against Iverson). Jerry Stackhouse, who was going to the Hornets, played a tremendous year with the Pistons (29.8 points on average) before being transferred to the Wizards, where he did not enjoy the company of Michael Jordan. Kukoc ended up in the Atlanta Hawks, exchanged for Mutombo.

KOBE BRYANT BY LEBRON JAMES IN 2006

Brian Windhorst (ESPN) has recounted that the Lakers tried the mother of all exchanges: LeBron James (22 years old) in exchange for a Kobe in the midst of an identity crisis (later solved) with the Angelenos. The thing did not have much flight: the Cavs did not want to change pieces, they wanted to join Kobe and LeBron. And the Lakers didn't want to know anything about any operation in which LeBron didn't end up wearing yellow and purple (something that finally happened 12 years later). But it makes your hair stand on end to think about the consequences for the recent history of the NBA that this operation, or a similar one, could have had twelve years ago.

KOBE BRYANT TO THE PISTONS IN 2007

TRANSFER: The Pistons welcomed Kobe and sent Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and draft rounds to LA.

Kobe himself confirmed the existence of this operation, which would have sent him to the team that defeated him in 2004 and led to his divorce with Shaquille and Phil Jackson and his years of collective darkness in the Lakers, among the three rings he won with Shaq and the two that he took in 2009 and 2010 with Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. The times when he publicly announced that he wanted to be traded. The Lakers had closed the deal with the Pistons ... but Kobe had an anti-handover clause, a veto right that few players enjoy in the NBA. And he didn't want to go to Detroit, where Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace were waiting for him. The Lakers would have had Hamilton and Prince alongside Odom, Derek Fisher, and Andrew Bynum. Later, the propiter Jerry Buss definitely convinced Kobe not to change air, but it was not the only movement that almost ended in an earthquake in that 2007 ...

KOBE BRYANT TO THE BULLS IN 2007

TRANSFER: The Bulls reportedly gave Luol Deng, Tyrus Thomas, Ben Gordon and Joakim Noah in exchange for Kobe.

Kobe, who also flirted with the Clippers, didn't want to go to Detroit ... but he wanted to go to neighboring Chicago, the city where Michael Jordan won six rings. The transfer was very close to being a reality, but Kobe Bryant in no way wanted Luol Deng to be one of the envoys to the Lakers, and the two franchises found no other way to carry out an operation without including the British forward of Sudanese origin. .

CHRIS PAUL TO THE LAKERS IN 2011

TRANSFER: Chris Paul to the Lakers; Kevin Martin, Goran Dratic, Luis Scola and a first round to the Hornets and Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom to the Rockets.

David Stern, the NBA commissioner, was de facto the boss of some Hornets in the hands of the League as they resolved the ownership changes in the franchise. And it was Stern who stopped a transfer that would have, had it been carried out (it was agreed and almost announced) formed a backcourt Chris Paul-Kobe Bryant. On paper, one of the best in history. Instead, Paul was sent to the Clippers in December, where he played with Blake Griffin. The Hornets were bad enough to get Anthony Davis via draft, the Lakers didn't have their big three Paul-Kobe-Dwight Howard, the Rockets had to keep looking for his hit and they ended up getting James Harden ... So the David Stern's veto had tremendous ramifications in the NBA.

JAMES HARDEN TO THE WARRIORS IN 2012

TRANSFER: James Harden to the Warriors, Klay Thompson to the Thunder.

Before sending James Harden to the Rockets, Sam Presti (OKC Thunder general manager) called the Warriors, who already had Stephen Curry. The problem: The Thunder wanted a series of picks that the Warriors did not have and the Bay ones did not want to take the bad contracts that Presti wanted to bind Harden to ease his bills. It didn't go further, Harden stayed in the Rockets and fell in the playoffs against the Warriors (from Curry and Klay, the Splash Brothers) four times in five years (2015-19) .

KEVIN LOVE TO THE WARRIORS IN 2014

TRANSFER: Kevin Love and Kevin Martin to the Warriors, Klay Thompson and David Lee to the Timberwolves.

Sounds ridiculous now, but the Warriors were about to do this, looking for the big stars who didn't want to go to the Bay as free agents. By then Love was averaging 26 + 12 on the Wolves and Klay Thompson had not yet definitively become Stephen Curry's lethal backcourt partner and one of the best shooting guard ever. Although I was at it. Jerry West, the NBA logo, was then an adviser to the Warriors and put the scream in the sky. For him goes the credit (he even threatened to break his ties with the franchise) of stopping an operation that, now it is clear, was not beneficial for the Warriors.

KEVIN GARNETT TO PHOENIX SUNS IN 2007

TRANSFER: Four-way operation in which, mainly, the Suns took Kevin Garnett, the Wolves the pick 5 of the Celtics, the Hawks to Amare Stoudemire and the Celtics to Shawn Marion.

In the summer of 2007, Kobe Bryant wasn't the only one in trouble with his franchise: Kevin Garnett had grown weary of the Timberwolves' lead (where he was MVP and Conference Finalist in 2004) and the franchise had had enough of his complaints and he had begun to hear offers for the power forward. Of the multiple suitors, Phoenix Suns was an option that KG viewed very favorably, and the operation was launched, a blockbuster that would have sent Shawn Marion (Celtics) and Amare Stoudemire (Hawks) to the East. It is said that everything was cut short because Marion only wanted to play where they gave him a maximum contract, and the Celtics were not for the work.KEVIN GARNETT TO THE LAKERS IN 2007

TRANSFER: Garnett to the Lakers by Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and other pieces and draft picks.

Garnett ended (July 31, 2007) at the Celtics, where he was champion with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. But, with the Suns operation broken, he could well have gone to the eternal rival of the Celtics, some Lakers where he would have met with Kobe Bryant, who also moved his tricks on the market that same summer. Phil Jackson acknowledged that there was a verbal agreement in a transfer that Garnett liked (although he was suspicious of the instability that prevailed at the time in the Lakers) and that it gave the Wolves, basically, Lamar Odom and a 19-year-old Andrew Bynum. But KG ended up in the Celtics, where he beat the Lakers in the 2008 Finals ... and lost to the Angels in 2010.

DWYANE WADE TO THE BULLS IN 2008

Born in Chicago, Dwyane Wade signed in 2016 for the Bulls and said it was "a dream come true." He played, already on his decline, in his hometown and before returning to the Miami Heat, the team of his life, last met LeBron in Cleveland, an experiment that went wrong. In 2016 Wade was 35 years old. But in 2008, he was 27 ... and was also able to go to the Bulls, according to ESPN journalist Chad Ford. Not much is known about the offer, only that the Bulls wanted to put on the table the number 1 draft they had secured and that they ended up investing in Derrick Rose. The Heat, who had 2 of that draft (Michael Beasley), were also (rumored) to receive Joakim Noah and Thabo Sefolosha, or so it was said later. KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune added spicy when he said that, with Wade, the Bulls were going for the big three Wade-LeBron-Bosh that in 2010 the Heat gathered. For them, they had an operation ready to send Luol Deng to the Clippers.

AMARE STOUDEMIRE TO CAVALIERS IN 2009

TRANSFER: The Cavs welcomed Stoudemire and gave the Suns JJ Hickson, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and a first-round draft.

In search of the elusive star to put alongside LeBron James (who ended up leaving in 2010 to return in 2014), the Cavaliers backed out at the last minute because they didn't want to part with JJ Hickson. So late that Amare had already spoken openly in the press about his departure to Cleveland.

STEPHEN CURRY TO THE SUNS IN 2009

TRANSFER: Stephen Curry to the Suns, Amare Stoudemire and draft pick 14 to the Warriors.

Steve Kerr, oddly enough, was the Suns' general manager in 2009, when the Arizonas attempted to clinch Curry's worthy pick (he was No. 7) by giving Stoudemire and his own first-round pick (14). Years later Kerr himself confirmed to the Bay Press that the operation was close to closing, but it was the Warriors who stopped because they did not see much future (there was not) on Stoudemire's knees.

STEPHEN CURRY TO THE BUCKS IN 2012

TRANSFER: Stephen Curry to the Bucks, Andrew Bogut to the Warriors.

The Warriors, who desperately wanted Bogut as a defensive anchor, finally took over the Australian center in March 2012. The Bucks took Monta Ellis as their centerpiece. But before, in the summer, the offer was a Curry whose ankles raised many doubts in the NBA. Also in the Warriors ... and in the medical services of the Wisconsin franchise, which did not give the go-ahead. In 2014, Marc Lasry became co-owner of the Bucks and assured, in reference to that slowed trade, that they had changed all their medical personnel. Back then, and not knowing what would come next, many Warriors fans preferred Monta Ellis over Curry, and booed owner Joe Lacob loudly for sending the often-escorted Bucks.

PAUL GEORGE TO THE CAVALIERS IN 2017

TRANSFER: Paul George and Eric Bledsoe to the Cavs, Kyrie Irving and Channing Frye to the Suns, draft pick 4 to the Pacers.

The Lakers tried to unite LeBron James and Paul George in LA ... but they had tried before, and almost succeeded, the Cleveland Cavaliers. That in 2017 he was about to give the blow LeBron wanted to truly challenge the KD Warriors. It didn't materialize, the Cavs were 4-0 in the 2018 Finals and LeBron went to the Lakers. Paul George, meanwhile, ended up in OKC and later in the Clippers. The Pacers-Suns-Cavs operation was nearly closed until it was stopped by a WhatsApp message from Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard. Afterward, the Suns also didn't want to drop their pick 4 in the draft and the trade finally collapsed. Kyrie, who did not like the news, ran out of desire to play in the Cavs and ended up in Boston and in a much less beneficial operation for those in Ohio.

KYRIE IRVING TO THE BUCKS IN 2017

TRANSFER: Kyrie to the Bucks, Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton to the Cavaliers.

At 25 years old and after seeing that he was about to be sent to the Suns in the Paul George operation, Kyrie Irving wanted to leave Cleveland and leave the long shadow of LeBron James. Before joining the Boston Celtics, he was able to go to the Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks. Zach Lowe (ESPN) announced an offer focused on Brogdon (who had been Rookie of the Year) and Middleton, in full swing that ended up making him an all-star. But then the Cavs didn't see as much potential in that pair as in the Paul George option.



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