Would CP3 and Kobe have won a ring together if the NBA didn’t veto the trade?


A lot of Lakers and Kobe fans believe that had the NBA not veto’d the CP3 trade in 2011, that Kobe and CP3 would have won multiple rings together. David Stern was much reviled by many fans because of this.

However, would they have won multiple rings together? The evidence actually points more towards no.

First off, I am a big fan of CP3’s game. I think he deserves to be more respected, and I think in terms of talent, he’s a top 5 PG of all time. It might be an unpopular opinion, but I think he’s a better player than John Stockton and Isiah Thomas, but those players had better overall careers. Literally the only thing CP3 doesn’t have is a ring, and its often due to bad luck and injuries. He arguably should have won a ring in 2018 if he wasn’t injured, and I don’t think losing last years Finals was on him either as his stats were all up from the regular season and he was the most efficient player on his team, just he couldn’t beat prime Giannis. No shame in that. Most people would consider prime Giannis a better player than 36 year old CP3.

Now, back to whether or not he would have won multiple rings with Kobe. I have doubts that they could have even won a single championship together. Let’s take a look at some reasons why.

-CP3 trade would have happened during the 2011–2012 season. This was coming off a season where the Lakers disappointed as they were defending champions and got swept by the 2011 Mavs. On the 2012 Lakers you had Kobe nearing the end of his prime (still putting up 28/5/5), Gasol in his prime (putting up 17/10/4) and Andrew Bynum’s best season (putting up 19/12).

Gasol and Odom are part of the trade package and Gasol still in his prime, so you are losing them as part of the deal. So if you trade away Gasol and Odom, you lose their rebounding and interior presence but instead gain a nice perimeter shooter and an all time floor raiser and distributor on the team. The 2012 Lakers lost in 5 games to OKC who had KD, Westbrook and Ibaka with Harden coming off the bench. I don’t think losing Gasol for CP3 would necessarily help with this matchup. Neither Gasol, CP3 or Kobe could guard KD, and while CP3 is a great perimeter defender and could cause issues for Westbrook, I don’t think it’s enough to turn the tide of this series. Even if they did, are they really beating the 2012 Heatles with Lebron on a vengeance mission? doubtful.

Moving on to 2013 and onwards well now we are nearing the end of Kobe’s prime, and unless the Lakers make some other big moves. Bynum is not there anymore, and the CP3/Kobe Lakers look very doubtful against the 2013 Heat, and that’s if they are beating the 2013 Spurs who were an amazing team as well and came close to winning it all. 2014 it’s the same story, except the Spurs are even better.

Also with the Dwight for Bynum trade, we already know Kobe has chemistry issues with Dwight (see: 2013 Lakers). Having CP3 on the roster is not going to magically fix that chemistry issue.
 
So that’s just assuming that CP3 maintains his regular production that we saw on the Hornets and Clippers. What if he doesn’t? this brings me up to next point.
 
-Kobe has never been proven to co-exist successfully with another perimeter star. All of Kobe’s success we’ve seen him with either an all time dominant big like Shaq, or a superstar big like Gasol paired up with near all star level bigs like Odom and Bynum.
 
If you look closely, you’ll notice Kobe’s success co-relates very nicely with the number of big men and rebounders on the team:
 
2005 season (misses playoffs) – only had Lamar Odom with 10 RPG
 
2006–2007 season (1st round exit) – in addition to Odom (9 RPG) adds in Kwame Brown (6–7 RPG) along with either Chris Mihm (6 RPG) or Luke Walton (5 RPG)
 
2008–2010 season (Finals) – adds in Pau Gasol (10 RPG), Andrew Bynum (8 RPG) along with Odom (8 RPG)
 
So basically you can see that as the quality of big men Kobe plays with increases, the more success Kobe sees. That’s not a coincidence. Kobe is known for being a volume shooter who isn’t particularly efficient. He’s known for not caring about his shot selection that much, and its no coincidence that he saw the most success with Phil Jackson as a coach (who forced him to share the ball more in the triangle) and a team of good rebounders around him.
 
But Kobe/Lakers fans might say: Kobe never played with a good perimeter star in his career.
But is that really true?
 
-1998 Eddie Jones – 17/4/3 – all star -> 1999 Eddie Jones – 14/4/3 (after Kobe promoted to starter)
 
-2003 Gary Payton – 20/4/8 – all star -> 2004 Gary Payton – 15/4/5 (joined Lakers)
 
-2012 Steve Nash – 13/3/11 – all star -> 2013 Steve Nash 13/3/7 (joined Lakers)
 
-2014 Jeremy Lin – 12/3/4 -> 2015 Jeremy Lin 11/3/5 (joined Lakers)
 
^ yes I realize all of those cases have ‘explanations’. Still, in addition to Lamar Odom who went from an all around player with the Clippers to being relegated to a spot up rebounder with the Lakers, there’s alot more evidence that perimeter stars have a hard time existing with Kobe than the evidence that says perimeter stars flourish with him.
 
So as far as the evidence shows, every perimeter star that has played with Kobe has seen their stats decrease slightly from the previous year. Kobe is known to be a ball dominant player. So how would this work with CP3? Using Nash as probably the closest example, CP3 wouldn’t have the ball as much in his hands and would probably see a slight decrease in his scoring and passing. and again even if his stats even stay the same, that’s probably not enough to beat the likes of the 2012 OKC, 2013 Spurs or 2014 Spurs.
 
So as far as the evidence shows, every perimeter star that has played with Kobe has seen their stats decrease slightly from the previous year. Kobe is known to be a ball dominant player. So how would this work with CP3? Using Nash as probably the closest example, CP3 wouldn’t have the ball as much in his hands and would probably see a slight decrease in his scoring and passing. and again even if his stats even stay the same, that’s probably not enough to beat the likes of the 2012 OKC, 2012 Heatles out for revenge, 2013 Spurs or 2014 Spur
s.
As for CP3 succeeding with Devin Booker and James Harden, both of those players are more willing to play their role more so than Kobe (we all know what happened with Shaq and Kobe back in the days where Kobe was more willing to play a role instead of being the alpha dog) and both of those players are also better outside shooters as well. Kobe also isn’t as used to taking a pick and pop or catch and shoot role as much as modern players do as well. Harden in addition also has legit PG skills whereas Kobe is a pure SG.

So we have all the evidence in the world to suggest that Kobe’s game worked the best with dominant big men rather than with another perimeter star. So it’s highly unlikely that Kobe would have won a championship with CP3 let alone multiple championships.