Cover Image for “The Lakers almost traded Kobe Bryant for Grant Hill!”: When Phil Jackson had to do a double-take after just arriving from the Chicago Bulls

“The Lakers almost traded Kobe Bryant for Grant Hill!”: When Phil Jackson had to do a double-take after just arriving from the Chicago Bulls

Jeet Pukhrambam
|Sun Jun 05 2022


The Los Angeles Lakers almost traded Kobe Bryant for Grant Hill! Yes, Phil Jackson and the Mamba did not start off on great terms!

The Lakers are one of the greatest dynasties in Basketball. They have won 17 championships and throughout history have managed to draft and unearth the greatest talents in the sport.

In 1996, They were fortunate enough to trade for Kobe Bryant, a young star out of Lower Merion High School. But, there was a time when they almost traded him away!

Yes, you read that right, the Lakers almost traded away Kobe Bryant! How and why? Today, we will talk about how this dynasty could have had an early demise.

Also read: “Crazy to think Kobe Bryant could have been a Celtic and Jayson Tatum a Laker”: Fans wonder what could have been as JT comes out in Kobe’s pre-draft Celtics jersey

 

Phil Jackson benched Kobe Bryant and almost packaged him in a trade for Grant Hill!

At the time, the Chicago Bulls had just broken apart and there was a vacancy for the throne. Every team in the league wanted to take that throne.

The Lakers hired the Bulls head coach Phil Jackson. Entering his fourth year, Kobe Bryant, was ready to go, however, injured himself during the preseason.

Jackson did not find room for him in his team and he was benched. Eventually, as the team started to get on a hot streak, winning 11 out of their first 15, Kobe was frustrated.

Ultimately, he demanded a trade, and there an interest around Grant Hill was swirling. Kobe was 22 at the time. Hill was 26. The trade seemed feasible.

Thankfully, Jackson came to his senses and never fully pushed for the trade. The ‘what if’, possibilities are simply endless. A Grant Hill and Shaq tandem? A Kobe-led Pistons team? We will never know.

Also read: “How come Kobe Bryant always came to talk to the veterans if he was selfish?”: Gary Payton shuns all talk about the Lakers great being a ‘selfish’ player


About the author

Jeet Pukhrambam

Jeet Pukhrambam is TheSportsRush's editor and creative writer. After freelancing for five years as an independent writer, Jeet has created thousands of blog posts and articles. He now covers intriguing news reports and throwback stories on all things NBA. In his free time, he enjoys techno, football, cooking, and traveling. Jeet takes pride in his critical thinking, music playlists, and his love for spaghetti.

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