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The Bulls were one of three teams Kobe Bryant would have approved a trade to in 2007

Just in time for Kobe Bryant’s final game against LeBron James, ESPN came out with a compelling piece about a potential Kobe-for-LeBron trade that Los Angeles tried to swing in 2007.

Buried in the piece was an interesting fact about the Bulls. Speaking to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, Bryant said he never would have approved the trade had it been accepted by Cleveland, and added that there were only three teams he would have waived his no-trade clause to join: Chicago, San Antonio and Phoenix.

In a 2015 interview with Grantland, Bryant detailed how he had demanded a trade from the Lakers, and added that Chicago was his No. 1 choice.

According to an ESPN report from 2007, trade discussions between the Bulls and Lakers intensified as the 2007-2008 season neared, but hit a snag when Bryant said he wouldn’t accept any deal involving Luol Deng.


A source with knowledge of the trade talks said Deng has been included in proposals swapped between the teams, but Bryant has continually threatened to veto almost any deal in which Deng would be included. Bryant wants to be sure that the team he joins has enough talent remaining to compete for the NBA title.

According to the report, Los Angeles was asking for a return of Deng, Tyrus Thomas, Ben Gordon and Joakim Noah.

The Lakers were unwilling to accept the deal without Deng and trade talks eventually subsided. Instead, the Los Angeles traded for Pau Gasol and went on the to win two more NBA championships in 2008 and 2009.

The best Bulls player to wear each number

Stats via Basketball-Reference