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.
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.
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