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Jeanie Buss: Kobe Bryant Leaving Lakers for Clippers in 2007 Was 'Very Possible'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant passes the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The idea of Kobe Bryant playing for any other team besides the Los Angeles Lakers may seem blasphemous now, but there was apparently a time when he strongly considered joining the other squad in town.

During an appearance on All The Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Lakers president Jeanie Buss said "I do think that was something that was very possible" when talking about Bryant possibly joining the L.A. Clippers in 2007. 

She pointed out he loved challenges, and guiding the Clippers to a title at that point would have certainly met the criteria of difficult.

This is far from the first time the sentiment of Bryant joining the Clippers at the time has come up, as Hall of Famer Jerry West—who was with the Lakers' front office from 1982-2000 and helped orchestrate the trade for Bryant in 1996—told NBA on TNT as much in 2020:

NBA on TNT @NBAonTNT

Jerry West on Kobe potentially joining the Clippers. https://t.co/3JOhjdaV4n

While joining future iterations of the Clippers that featured players such as Chris Paul and Blake Griffin would put a player of Bryant's stature in position to challenge for a title, that was not the case in 2007.

The Clippers won one playoff series from the 1976-77 season (when they were the Buffalo Braves) until the 2011-12 season.

The franchise still hasn't advanced past the second round of the postseason in its history, but it at least has become an annual contender in recent years.

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Bryant ultimately stayed with the Purple and Gold, which proved to be a fruitful decision when he won the fourth and fifth championships of his illustrious career in 2009 and 2010 with Pau Gasol as his primary running mate.

The pair also helped guide the Lakers to the 2008 NBA Finals the year before their back-to-back crowns, although they lost to the Boston Celtics.

Bryant never played for another team during his 20-season career and is widely regarded as one of the best players in the storied franchise's history.

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