Listen to Ric Bucher join The Doug Gottlieb Show on one of the most somber days in sports history, as the world continues to mourn the loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, whose death has profoundly affected so many.
One story that Ric recalls in a revealing interview with Doug was the forgotten offseason of 2007 when Bryant nearly left a transitioning Lakers tram who had lost Shaquille O’Neal years earlier, and one that was coming off two consecutive first round exits.
Bryant had famously used Bucher as a mouthpiece in the media to boast his displease with the franchise, who was not only seemingly at a crossroads with Bryant, but with beloved VP of Basketball Operations of Basketball Jerry West as well.
Bryant was reportedly ready to take his talents to the Chicago Bulls, and would have had zero reservations about joining the same team who showcased the famous basketball player in history, Michael Jordan.
In the end, the Lakers were able to re-sign Bryant, and connected on one of the most lopsided trades in league history when they acquired All-Star and future Hall of Famer Pau Gasol in a trade that would suddenly vault them from first round one-and-done to NBA Finals contender.
Check out the audio above as Bucher details the near blockbuster trade, and also check out the full interview below as Bucher explains his friendship with Bryant over the years.