The “super team” era is thought to have started when LeBron James infamously left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to team up with first ballot Hall of Famers Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach. However, according to former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Del Harris, the Lakers nearly assembled what could have been one the most dominant trios of all time.
In an interview with The New York Times’ Marc Stein, Harris said that former Lakers general manager Jerry West toyed with the idea of adding Tracy McGrady to a team that already had a dominant Shaq and a young Kobe Bryant.
“I don’t think anybody can look at an 18-year-old and say he’s a Hall of Famer,” Harris said. “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.”
Unfortunately, Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss was hesitant to make any moves that would put the team’s title aspirations at risk. Harris also didn’t like the idea of moving an All-Star like Eddie Jones for another teenager.
While the Lakers’ plan to stand pat ultimately worked out, as Bryant and Shaq went on to win three consecutive titles together, it’s hard not to think about how many titles they would have won with T-Mac, arguably one of the greatest scorers the NBA has ever seen. Four? Five?
We’ll never know.