When you think of the name Bob Bass, you probably think of his time leading the Spurs into NBA relevancy from the front office, parachuting in to serve as coach periodically, when needed. Well, the two-time NBA Executive of the Year fulfilled the same role in Charlotte for the Hornets, and now his legacy is slowly but surely being re-cast as a referendum on the one move Bass made that — at least in the long run — never worked out right: Trading away Kobe Bryant.
(A draft hat: The only thing that still connects Bryant with the Hornets.)
Now Bass is weighing in on the subject himself, and he gives Jimmy Smith of the NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE some pretty compelling reasons for why the move made a lot of sense, both for the short and long-term future of Charlotte’s franchise. Bass admits that the team put a pre-draft deal in place with the Lakers, saying that if Bryant was somehow still available at the No. 13 slot in the draft, Charlotte would take him and trade him to L.A. for Vlade Divac. When he was, Bass was all too happy to pick the Philadelphia wunderkind, because the Lakers deal represented both an ideal way to land the big man the Hornets desperately needed and equally importantly, set the stage to get Shaquille O’Neal out of the Eastern Conference by helping L.A. clear cap space.