The Sacramento Kings had their share of the pie when they defeated Pia Stoyakovich instead of John Wallace in the 1996 NBA playoffs, but they were ready to take a completely different path than when senior Kobe Bryant retired.
As fate would have it, Bryant won’t be there until the 13th. The place slipped to Charlotte Horns before he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Kings were ready to pull the trigger when he was released.
At that time, secondary school students were not as advanced in the project as they were a little later. An old man at headquarters, Jerry Reynolds, told Jordan Ramirez about Kings.com. But [basketball chairman] Jeff [Petrie] made it clear to Agent Kobe that we’ll take him when his client’s in Room 14.
However, it has been accompanied by a major shift.
Camp Kobe told us that if he had been called by the kings, he wouldn’t have signed, Reynolds said. Arne Telllem, Bryant’s agent, said he wouldn’t sign multiple teams for us because he wanted to play for L.A.. Lakers. Tellem had a relationship with Jerry West, who of course ran the Lakers at the time.
It was part of a notorious bubble strategy that set Tellem in motion to let Bryant play for the Lakers and prevented him from training for another team after then CEO Jerry West was stunned by his abilities.
I know for a fact that we would have taken Kobe and the only way for him not to play for the Sacramento Kings was for the Lakers to beat the deal and they did, Reynolds said. Tellem knew Jeff Petrie wouldn’t retreat like the other teams. Coby didn’t care what position he was in, he just wanted to go to the Lakers.
If the Lakers hadn’t been so high up in the future hunger room, the kings of Sacramento would have captured him. But Bryant was determined to start his career with the Lakers, and Telllem played a big role in him to finally get there.