When you think of the greatest power forwards in NBA history, Kevin Garnett is normally on a lot of top-five lists, if not at No. 1. For years “The Big Ticket” was unstoppable, but a trade to the Boston Celtics helped cement his legacy.
He recently discussed a possible trade that would’ve turned the league upside down. Today let’s discuss why Kobe missing a phone call changed the course of the league’s most storied franchises.
Becoming a top player in Minnesota
After being selected with the No. 5 overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, KG would quickly blossom into one of the game’s best players. He won the NBA MVP award in 2004 after posting 24 points and almost 14 rebounds per game, which led the league.
This would be the first of four consecutive seasons Garnett would lead the league in rebounding. He also earned 10 All-Star appearances in 12 seasons with the team. Garnett couldn’t lead the Timberwolves to much success in the playoffs, and by the end of the 06-07 season he asked for a trade.
Kevin Garnett in the purple and gold?
The first person in the NBA who Garnett tried to speak to about teaming up was Kobe Bryant, according to Slam Online. For years, Kobe had proven to be a clutch performer and champion.
No one matched KG’s competitive spirit more than the Black Mamba. However, when Garnett tried to reach out, Bryant didn’t answer the call. When a call wasn’t returned, KG looked at the Celtics.
How good would they have been?
Garnett’s first season in Boston he was on the wrong side of 30, but still incredibly effective on both ends of the floor. Teaming him up with Kobe, who was coming up a 31 points per game average the season prior, would have made the team almost unstoppable. Kobe averaged 28 PPG in 2007-08 on his way to earning the MVP award while leading the team to the No. 1 seed in the West.
We think it would have been another excellent year for Bryant, who could have put up his third consecutive 30+ PPG season while teams also had to focus on Garnett. The Lakers were 19th in points allowed that year, while Boston finished second.
We have no doubt that the Lakers would have been in the top-10 if Garnett was manning the middle, and the Lakers would have won the championship. This could have started another dynasty out West, but could the Pau Gasol trade happen if KG is on the team? The answer is probably not due to salary cap reasons.
Both teams were still successful
In the end, the Celtics still hung up a championship banner with their big three of KG, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. The Lakers would also go on to win back-to-back championships as Kobe ended his career with five rings.
Ultimately both teams were happy with the years that followed the Kevin Garnett trade to Boston, but it’s still fun to imagine how great the duo of KG and Kobe would have been from a basketball and league marketing standpoint.