The Lakers were looking to trade their starting center Vlade Divac for a player's draft rights to free up salary-cap space to make an offer to free-agent center Shaquille O'Neal. Bill Branch, the Hornets' head scout at the time, said that the Hornets agreed to trade their draft selection at #13 to the Lakers the day before the draft. Before the trade agreement, the Hornets never considered drafting Bryant. During the draft, the Lakers told the Hornets whom to select minutes before the pick was made.
The Rock won the WWF Championship for a fifth time at King of the Ring on June 25 by scoring the winning pin in a six-man tag team match, teaming with Kane and The Undertaker against Shane McMahon, Triple H and Vince McMahon, whom he pinned.