Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul nearly ‘destroyed’ the NBA, per Gilbert Arenas
There are few bigger landscape-shifting trades that never happened than that of Chris Paul’s botched move to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011. CP3 would have formed a superteam in LA with Kobe Bryant had it not been for then-commissioner David Stern vetoing the deal at the last minute.
As it turns out, former All-Star Gilbert Arenas was one of the individuals that were actually happy that that momentous deal did not go down. Arenas had Chris Paul as his guest on a recent episode of his No Chill podcast and the pair discussed the details of that botched trade, including how Dwight Howard also nearly joined LA to form a Big 3 with Kobe and Paul:
Gilbert Arenas says the NBA vetoed the CP3/Lakers deal because LA would’ve had Kobe, Dwight, CP3 and $24M-$30M in cap space
“It would have destroyed the league for at least 10 years”
(Via No Chill Podcast | h/t @AhnFireDigital )
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) September 1, 2021
“So when it got nixed, I’m like ‘Damn what happened?'” Arenas said, via Sam Yip of FanNation. “[Arenas’ agent Dan Fagen] said it was unfair. He said, ‘What was in the background of all that was Dwight Howard being traded for Bynum.’
“Remember, I’m in Orlando. I’m already talking to [then-Magic GM Otis Smith] and it was like, ‘Dwight don’t want to stay’. This was when the amnesty was coming. So Orlando, they’re trying to figure out if they were going to throw me in the deal and force [the] Lakers: if you want Dwight you’re gonna have to take Gilbert’s contract too.”
Gilbert Arenas then explained why he believes a Kobe-CP3-Dwight Howard trio with the Lakers would have been bad news for the rest of the NBA:
“Basically, after all y’all superteam got together, y’all had too much money left,” Arenas said. “That was the reason it got nixed… It would have destroyed the league for at least 10 years.”
According to his math, Arenas believes that the Lakers would have had $24 to $30 million in cap space left AFTER signing Paul and Howard. At that time, the “starting price” for a max player was $12 to $13 million, so as Arenas said, the Lakers could have signed two more max players. Gilbert Arenas believes this is the exact reason why David Stern just had to intervene.