How Kobe Bryant’s Trade Demands Cost LA Kevin Garnett, And Gilbert Arenas His Reputation

Back in 2007, Kobe Bryant was throwing a temper tantrum in Los Angeles, alternately demanding to be traded yet also saying he wanted to stay in LA.  At the same time, Kevin Garnett was being shopped around by the Minnesota Timberwolves.  He ultimately went to Boston, where he immediately helped turn the franchise into a champion… beating Bryant’s Lakers in six games. 

But it almost worked out differently.  On the Dan Patrick show today, Garnett revealed he was pretty close to becoming a Laker.

On nearly joining the Lakers in 2007.

“I was pretty close at the time… It was my choice not to go to the Lakers. There was a lot going on (in LA) so I wanted no part of it.”

Patrick asked Garnett if his reluctance had anything to do with the Kobe Bryant/Phil Jackson feud. KG would only say “a lot was going on.”

That’s as close as you’re going to get to KG flat out saying Kobe Bryant’s actions that summer cost the Lakers his services.  

Enter the “butterfly effect.” 

First of all, and I won’t dwell too much on this, the resulting player movement would have been league changing.  The Celtics may never have returned to championship form.  The Grizzlies wouldn’t have made the moves that got them the playoff success they enjoyed this past season.  Where would Pau Gasol have gone?  Would Paul Pierce have asked out of Boston?  We can speculate on that forever, but there is one definite chain of events that doesn’t occur.

If Kevin Garnett had gone to Los Angeles, Javaris Crittenton would not have been traded to Memphis in the Gasol trade.  That means he would not have been traded to Washington.  And that means the Gilbert Arenas gun incident never happens.   

Where do we go from there?  Who knows.  Without the gun incident, maybe Arenas doesn’t get run out of town.  He may have, because he still acts like an ass whenever he can, but the circumstances almost certainly would have been quite different.  Maybe John Wall goes somewhere else.   And Orlando’s fate certainly changes as well. 

And it’s possible Javaris Crittenton wouldn’t be sitting in a jail cell, too.  His life would have been markedly different.  Without the trades, perhaps he would have stuck around in LA.  Or he might have ended up in Minnesota.  Who knows what a change of scenery would have meant for his career.  Maybe that would have put him on a different enough path to avoid whatever happened the night that young mom was shot and killed.  

If Kobe Bryant had played nice with the Lakers in 2007, Kevin Garnett may have become his teammate, Gilbert Arenas might never have been associated with guns, and a young woman in Atlanta might still be alive.  

It’s amazing to see how closely tied seemingly unrelated events are.