The Dallas Mavericks almost paired Kobe Bryant with Dirk Nowitzki in the summer of 2007, owner Mark Cuban said on ESPN Radio.
While Cuban was competing on Dancing with the Stars, the team was close to landing Bryant, he said.
Bryant was unhappy with Lakers’ management at the time. He felt like the team wasn’t giving him the support he needed to win a title without Shaquille O’Neal. The Lakers hadn’t traded for Pau Gasol yet, and Andrew Bynum was still developing.
“When I was doing Dancing with the Stars, I was taking breaks because I was talking to Kobe’s agent because Kobe wanted to get traded,” Cuban said on the Ben and Skin Show on KESN-FM. “Literally, between Dancing with the Stars practices I had thought we traded for Kobe Bryant. I even talked to their owner and thought we were going to have done deal, and [Lakers GM] Mitch Kupchak changed [Kobe’s] mind and brought him back.”
Cuban said that the Mavericks wouldn’t have traded Nowitzki to acquire Bryant. The failed trade seemed to work out. Each franchise has won an NBA title since then.