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Chris Paul recalls what could have been if trade to L.A. was never vetoed

Lakers, Chris Paul

There was a time when Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant could have been Lakers teammates. A trade between Charlotte and Los Angeles was in place, but former NBA commissioner David Stern decided to reject the deal.

Paul, who eventually wound up with the Clippers after the veto, recently opened up about what it would have been like to play alongside Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles last month.

“What if that trade would’ve happened with the Lakers?” Bleacher Report asked Paul in a recent one-on-one interview.

“I knew that (question) was coming,” Paul said. “It’s even crazier to think about now, given the situation in the past few months — losing Kobe and David Stern.

“It would’ve been special,” Paul added about playing for the Lakers. “I talk about it at some points. Me and Kobe actually got on the phone and talked about this and that. Me and my brother were about to get on a flight to L.A.

“There are times when I think, ‘This would’ve been (special),’ but I can’t get caught up in that. It all worked out.”

Now with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but never with the Lakers, Paul is recognized as one of the greatest point guards the NBA has ever known. In his 57 appearances this season, the former Wake Forest standout has turned in averages of 17.5 points on 48.6 percent shooting (36.1 percent from beyond the arc), 6.7 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

Paul never got the opportunity to play in a Lakers uniform, but it sounds like he’s thought about what might have been a time or two.