Ultimate what-if: Sources reveal 2007 Kobe-for-LeBron trade talk

Brian Windhorst, ESPN

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James play each other Wednesday night, Bryant's final game in Cleveland.

Their matchup over the years has been one of cross-conference shadow boxing; injury and circumstance have kept them from ever having an epic playoff showdown. One or the other played in every NBA Finals from 2007 to 2015, but never against each other.

There is another piece of history the two share, one mostly hidden until now. According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the event, the Lakers once contacted the Cavs to investigate whether Cleveland would make James available in a possible Bryant trade.

In the summer of 2007, Bryant was 28 years old and coming off a season where he averaged 32 points a game and shot 46 percent from the field. He had three rings and would win his first Most Valuable Player award the following season.

Bryant was under contract for two more seasons, but was frustrated with the Lakers after three consecutive subpar seasons following the Shaquille O'Neal trade.

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