Former All-Star Chris Webber wanted to team up with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, instead of playing for the Kings
The 1st pick in the 1993 NBA Draft, Chris Webber, was selected by the Orlando Magic but later traded to the Golden State Warriors. C-Webb had an exceptional rookie year, averaging 17.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.2 SPG, and 2.2 BPG on an impressive 55.2% shooting from the field.
However, Webber and head coach Don Nelson had developed a volatile relationship with the former having issue regarding his playing positions. Soon C-Webb was traded to the Washington Wizards, where he played 3 seasons.
In 1998, much to his dislike, Webber was traded to the Sacramento Kings. The 5x All-Star had his hopes pinned on the purple and gold team, who were championship contenders. At the time, Kings was considered a losing team.
However, the arrival of C-Webb changed the fortunes of the franchise, making them relevant again. The former Warriors player would have his best years with the Kings.
Chris Webber wanted to be a Laker over a Sacramento King.
Webber was recently inducted into the James Naismith Hall of Fame class of 2021. The Kings forward played 15 seasons in the NBA and even has his jersey no 4 retired by the franchise.
— NBA (@NBA) September 10, 2021
The former rebounding leader wanted to take his talents to the Staples Center and assemble a superteam with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
I thought there was going to be a trade for Elden Campbell, Eddie Jones, and Nick Van Exel for me, Webber said. I wanted to go there.
According to Jason Jones of The Athletic,
It took some work to get Webber past not being a Laker. There were conversations with general manager Geoff Petrie and coach Rick Adelman, assuring him he was welcome and needed in Sacramento. The talk with Adelman was especially key. The message, Webber said, was clear: We know you wanted to go to the Lakers, but we want you and we need you and we’re going to win with you.
Webber’s stint in Sacramento proved beneficial for both parties. The franchise was finally in the limelight. In his 7 seasons with the team, Webber averaged 23.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 1.5 BPG on a 47.3% shooting from the field.
Chris Webber’s greatest roadblock: The Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers stood as a huge obstacle in the Kings’ ladder to the NBA Finals. During their first meeting in the 1999-00 playoffs, the Lakers defeated the Kings in 5 games.
The following season, the Kings had a 55-wins season clinching the 3rd seed in the western conference. However, they were swept by the Lakers in the semi-finals.
During the 2001-02 season, the Kings had the highest chances to win the chip, clinching the top seed in the western conference. Unfortunately, the Sacramento team once again was at the mercy of the Lakers, losing in the conference finals. The Lakers would finish a 3-peat the same year.