Webber wanted Lakers trade, but Adelman changed everything originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
When Chris Webber was traded from the Washington Bullets in May of 1998, he wanted to head to the West Coast. But not to Sacramento.
Webber had his eyes on the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead, he joined the Kings. Still, he thought the Kings could meet his wishes and move him before the 1998-99 season began. That never happened.
The star big man admittedly wasn’t happen once he knew his reality. However, everything changed thanks to one talk with Kings coach Rick Adelman before the 1998-99 season.
“When I got there, one of the first conversations that I had was with Rick Adelman and it was before a practice — he understood that I didn’t want to be there,” Webber said Friday on the Jason Ross & Doug Christie Show. “I made it very clear because I thought that a trade could happen in between, and I thought that it was going to be to the Lakers. So, it didn’t happen and I remember coach just bringing me into his office and he disarmed me.
“I mean, I was a King after our first practice because he said to me, ‘I understand, I don’t care about what happens before or after. You’ve got a clean slate here, and we really, really want you.’ And what could you say after that?”
Webber was all the way in after that. He looked around the practice court and saw players like Jason Williams, Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic.
What more could he ask for?
“I knew after the first practice,” Webber said. “I tried to fight it in my head, but I was watching our game against San Antonio, the first game that we ever played together, and I knew right then. You could tell right then.”
The Kings were blown out by the Spurs in Webber’s Kings debut, 101-83. That didn’t matter, though. He could see the bigger picture.
Sacramento lost in the first round of the playoffs in Webber’s first season as a King. They went on to reach the postseason in all seven seasons Webber was in Sacramento.
Oh, and for good measure, the Kings beat the Lakers, 105-101, the first time Webber played them with Sacramento.
Now, Webber and Adelman both are entering the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame next year, where they’ll be crowned kings forever.