Danny Ainge Once Claimed That He Would Trade Anyone Except Kobe For 15-Year Old LeBron
The hype surrounding LeBron James prior to his arrival to the NBA was unlike any other. During his high school career, LeBron was already being talked about as the next all-time great, drawing comparisons to some NBA legends like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.
Even with high-caliber prospects like Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, LeBron stood above and was seen as the inevitable No.1 overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft. Given his dominance at a young age, everyone was convinced that the kid from Akron was a surefire franchise-altering talent.
In fact, even former Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge was awed by LeBron’s talent, to the extent of expressing his willingness to trade any player in the league but Kobe Bryant for the 15-year old basketball prodigy.
Former Phoenix Suns guard Rex Chapman, who played under Ainge, recalled Ainge’s statement about the young LeBron during an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show”.
“I was just finishing playing in 2000 and I remember Danny Ainge was he was doing TV stuff but he was watching players also and I asked him if there was anybody out there this was 2000, 2001.”
“He said, ‘There’s a kid named LeBron James in Akron, Ohio… I would trade everyone in the league for LeBron, with the exception of Kobe.”