Lakers would've been 'very different' with Paul, says Bryant


It turns out fans and media types are not the only ones still wondering what it would have been like if Chris Paul had joined the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said that Paul would have been a perfect fit if he had joined the team from the New Orleans Hornets in 2011, when the NBA blocked the point guard's trade west.

"When we played together in every All-Star Game, we never f-- around," Bryant said via ESPN.

"It was like, 'Listen, the guys have their fun, but now let's do what we do.' I knew how competitive he was, and I knew it would be a perfect fit.

"We just kind of talked about what we're going to do, how we're going to scheme to get things done. Unfortunately, it never happened."

Paul called Bryant after learning that the Hornets were considering dealing him to the Lakers.

The deal was later killed by the NBA for "basketball reasons." But at the time, both players were seeing championship rings in their future.

"Things would've been very, very, very different around here," Bryant said, "with two of the most competitive people the league has ever seen."

Paul later wound up in Los Angeles, coming over in a trade to the Clippers.

"It was crazy," Paul told ESPN. "It was exciting.

"We talked about potentially being team-mates and all that stuff like that. Then, in the blink of an eye, gone."

Five years later, Bryant is headed for retirement with no new rings since 2010 and Paul is still looking for his first title a decade into his NBA career.