The history of the Washington Wizards has been riddled with painful what-ifs. What if the Wizards had drafted Pau Gasol or Tyson Chandler instead of Kwame Brown? What if the Wizards had drafted Stephen Curry in 2009 instead of trading their pick for Mike Miller and Randy Foye? What would have happened if Gilbert Arenas didn't wreck his knee in 2007? What would have happened if the Wizards had decided to use their pick in the loaded 1984 draft instead of trading it to Cleveland. What would have happened if the Wizards had traded their pick in the loaded 2003 draft instead of taking Jarvis Hayes? What if the Wizards hadn't turned down a chance to trade for James Harden?
Well, today Michael Lee dropped a new what-if that might just top them all: What if Kobe Bryant had joined the Wizards in 2004 like he wanted to?
More than a decade ago, Bryant wanted to get away from Los Angeles, and the team he wanted to join was the Wizards, where he would join forces with his mentor Michael Jordan.
Those plans evaporated when then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin parted ways with Jordan in 2003, a year before Bryant became a free agent, but as Wizards fans pine over the idea of Kevin Durant coming to Washington as a free agent, the near-miss that was Kobe-to-DC finally can be shared.
"That's true," Bryant confirmed recently. "A long time ago? Yeah."
As great as it would have been to see Kobe on the Wizards, you have to wonder how successful Kobe would have been in Washington if Michael Jordan was still calling the shots. As we saw after Shaq left the Lakers, Kobe Bryant in his prime couldn't take the Lakers very far when he was surrounded by players like Samaki Walker and Kwame Brown. And you know who was on the Wizards for the 2004-05 season? Samaki Walker and Kwame Brown.
Thankfully, for the Wizards, even though the Wizards didn't end up with Kobe Bryant in 2004, they were able to put that open cap space to good use. The Wizards wound up using the cap room to sign Gilbert Arenas and trade for Antawn Jamison, which put the Wizards on a good path for the next five years. Sure, the Wizards would have been better off with a megastar like Bryant, but at least the Wizards still came out with a decent result, even though they were on the wrong side of another what-if scenario.
Also, while watching Kobe go to battle in a Wizards jersey would have been fun, watching Michael Jordan try to treat Kobe like Kwame Brown would have been the most entertaining part of this arrangement by far.