Future Hall of Famer reveals he was nearly traded to Lakers to pair with Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three
Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Kobe Bryant was able to win his fourth and fifth championships with the Los Angeles Lakers thanks to the team trading for Pau Gasol. Once that partnership started to wind down, the Lakers were trying to find new ways to add juice to the roster and give Kobe his sixth (and potentially more) championship.

There is the infamous Chris Paul trade that happened and then was vetoed by the league. That remains one of the biggest what-ifs in Lakers history that would have had a massive ripple effect throughout the NBA.

What the Lakers ultimately settled on was a trade for Dwight Howard, which did not go as planned at all. Before that trade, though, the Lakers nearly made a deal for a different future Hall of Famer. In an appearance on 'The Why with Dwyane Wade', Carmelo Anthony confirmed that a trade with the Lakers was a "done deal".

"The deal was done with the Lakers. Me and Nenê for Lamar Odom and (Andrew) Bynum. That deal was done, I never thought about New York. But when they turned that deal down, when George (Karl) turned that deal down, now it's like 'oh, y'all don't want me in the West'. "

Carmelo Anthony was nearly traded to the Lakers to team with Kobe Bryant

Keep in mind this was prime Carmelo Anthony we are talking about. Melo was traded during the 2010-11 season at just 26 years old. Just two seasons after the trade, Melo put together the best year of his career and finished second in MVP voting.

A Melo-Kobe partnership in Los Angeles would have been electric. With both players being such prominent scorers there probably would have been an adjustment process but Kobe would have made it work. Kobe brought the absolute best out of everyone he played with and Melo would have held up his end of the bargain and played like he did in the Olympics.

If this had happened it would have set the league on the NBA Finals collision course that every single fan deserved but never got. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James would have actually squared off in an NBA Finals and there is a good chance that Kobe and the Lakers would have at least won one.

A Lakers team with Kobe and Melo probably would not have gotten swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs. That Mavericks team deserves a lot of respect but adding Melo to that series would have been the difference maker.

The same can be said the following season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. That Thunder team had to go through the Lakers to get to the Finals and with Melo in the mix, that probably does not happen. If this trade would have actually gone down, we would have seen at least two Lakers-Heat series and they would have been two of the best NBA Finals of all time.

The 2013 and 2014 San Antonio Spurs were excellent and by then, Kobe would have been older and may have suffered the same injury. But perhaps if he didn't have to carry the burden so heavily he could have stayed healthy and made another NBA Finals or two.

Regardless, the Denver Nuggets wanting to keep Carmelo Anthony out of the Western Conference robbed the NBA of something truly special. It isn't quite the travesty that the CP3 trade is, but it is close.

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