Unless you're new to the world of professional basketball, you probably have an idea of how dominant Shaq and Kobe's Lakers were. Winning three straight Championships from 2000 to '02, many still regard this Laker squad as the best that ever lived.
Judging by the most recent reports, however, it almost got even better.
From the lips of former Laker Lakers head coach Del Harris to Marc Stein, Jerry West, tried to acquire the draft rights of Tracy McGrady in 1997 to pair him with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
In the chat, Harris goes on to talk about the thinking of Jerry West, and how he was almost willing to put some cards on the table:
"I don’t think anybody can look at an 18-year-old and say he’s a Hall of Famer. You couldn’t even do that with Jordan. And Kobe was a young 18 in his first season. He was still in a pretty normal teenage body, compared to when LeBron James came in and had a man’s body.
"McGrady came in the next year with a more mature body and worked out so well that Jerry kind of tooled around with the idea that maybe we should just go ahead and make a deal for whatever it took to get this guy—even though it’d be a step back in the short term—to have two guys like this on the same team."
It sounds like Jerry West was pretty keen on the idea. And it probably would have happened, too, if not for the veto of the then-Laker owner, Jerry Buss. Apparently, he didn't like the risk of trading All-Stars for a high school kid the second year in a row.
It's hard to imagine exactly how powerful that team would have been. Between Shaq, Kobe, and T-Mac, the Lakers would've ruled the league with an iron fist.
History still gave Los Angeles a pretty good story, of course. But it's hard not to think that Jerry Buss dropped the ball on this one.