Kobe Bryant. NBA superstar, now legend, and an all time great. Some consider him a top 10 player of all time, and everyone can see the similarities to Michael Jordan. Not to mention, Kobe has five rings on his fingers all from the Los Angeles Lakers. However, many people do not realize Kobe was actually not drafted by the Lakers. Kobe Bryant was drafted 13th overall in the 1996 draft by the Charlotte Hornets, and later traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe was sent to LA in form of Charlotte receiving a valuable center (At the time), Vlade Divac.
The Hornets really did not truly need another guard, and therefore, thought Divac would be a better fit for the team. The Hornets already had two scoring guards in Glen Rice and Larry Johnson (Both averaging at least 20 PPG), and felt they could add some more size.
If only they knew what Kobe would become. While Vlade Divac became a 11 PPG and 8 boards per game guy for the Hornets for two years, Kobe teamed with Shaq to lead the Lakers to three straight Championships from 2000-2002.
Fast forward 18 years. Andrew Wiggins, 6 foot 8 inches, 200 pound, shooting guard, with tremendous talent and desire is drafted number one overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Two months later, the Cavaliers and Timberwolves make an unofficial trade to send Wiggins to Minnesota for one of the best big men in the NBA, Kevin Love.
The Cavaliers already have a great back court with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters (Both averaging 15 PPG), and therefore, the Cavaliers could really use a big men to go along with a great back court.
Hmmm. This Andrew Wiggins situation feels somewhat like deja vu. I'm not the only one that sees it as oddly familiar: "Cleveland is making the same mistake Charlotte made with me." - Kobe Bryant
Now although this situation is similar to Kobe's situation, there are some major holes in the comparison. For one, Andrew Wiggins is being traded to Minnesota, not LA. Kobe was traded to LA, where another top 10 great of all time, Shaquille O'Neal was considering going. People talk about heading to South Beach, New York, Los Angeles, but no NBA superstar ever says, "Ah. Minnesota. Where dreams are made." Don't get me wrong Minnesota is a functional state with a lot of pride, but its not exactly destination number one for any NBA superstar (With or without Andrew Wiggins).
Second, Kevin Love is, without a doubt, a much more valuable player than Vlade Divac. When Divac was traded to Charlotte, he was averaging 12 PPG and 8 boars per game. Love averaged 26 PPG and 13 rebounds per game, and not to mention he is only 25 years old. Divac was never once an all-star before being traded to the Hornets, while Kevin Love has been 3 straight times (Discarding his injury ridden season)!
Finally, there is one huge hole in Kobe's comparison. Cleveland not only has a great back court in Kyrie and Dion, but they have this guy by the name of LEBRON JAMES. Lebron's the best player in the past 20 year, and possibly the greatest player of all time. The Cavaliers don't need Andrew Wiggins, as they have Lebron who already is one of the greatest players of all time! The Cavaliers needed shooting and bigs for Lebron, and they got all that and more with Kevin Love. I do wish the Cavs had waited to see how Lebron and Wiggins had played together, but the Cavaliers are going for a Championship now! If the Cavs can get just one Championship out of Kevin Love, Kyrie, and Lebron, this notion of not trading Wiggins will be erased (Whether or not he ends up being an all time great).
I don't know if Kobe's lamenting over the Cavs off-season being greater than LA's, or if he's trying to give hope to Andrew Wiggins. However, either way, Kobe's comparison has its points, but at the end of the day, the comparison is just plain wrong.