It's oft-told tale, how the Nets passed on Kobe Bryant in the 1996 (at the Meadowlands no less!), Peter Vecsey writes about the biggest miss in Nets trade history, but in more detail than before. Vecsey spoke with both John Nash, Nets GM at the time, and Jerry West, who engineered the trade that brought Bryant to the Lakers.
Vecsey reports that the Nets decision to take Kerry Kittles over Bryant was one part concern by Nets owner Joe Taub, part pressure by Kittles' agent (and then super agent) David Falk, but most of all, Jerry West's engineering both the trade and the Bryant family's threat to go elsewhere if the Nets took him.
Bottom line for Nash: John Calipari, who the last word, choked.
- Nets loss, Lakers gain: Draft dodges kept Kobe from New Jersey in '96 - Peter Vecsey - New York Post
- Kobe shunned, bypassed by several teams heading into ’96 draft - Peter Vecsey - New York Post