Aside from selecting players in the draft and signing free agents, the most common method of adding a player to the NBA roster is via trade with another team.
In the long, cherished history of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise, management has made a number of fabulous trades as well as a few clunkers.
We bring you a ranking of the 12 greatest trades the Los Angeles Lakers have ever made.
The main criteria used is fairly simple:
- How much the acquired player helped the team win ballgames, especially an NBA championship
- How little the Lakers gave up in return, ie, how well the traded players performed once they were traded away
One trade that is not, and really cannot, be included on this list is the one the Lakers made last summer to obtain Anthony Davis. To begin with, AD has only played 55 games so far in a Lakers uniform. We cannot be certain that he will re-sign with the team. Even if he does, all we can do is speculate what success he or the Lakers will have in future years.
Additionally, the Lakers gave up a large bounty of players to acquire Davis. Brandon Ingram was an all-star this year and will likely be a stud for years to come. Also, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and De’Andre Hunter should all have, at the very least, decent NBA careers. And don’t forget that the Lakers also traded three future first-round draft picks.
Bottom line is that the trade for AD cannot be fairly evaluated until some point in the future when we have the benefit of more experience.
Two trades that deserve honorable mention:
- Trevor Ariza for Brian Cook and Maurice Evans- 2007
Ariza became a starting forward and solid contributor to the Lakers 2009 title team. He especially shined in the playoffs that year, averaging 11.3 points and shooting 47.6% from behind the three-point line while playing outstanding defense. But overall he played just 106 regular-season games for the purple and gold before leaving as a free agent.
Cook was a decent NBA reserve forward with a nice shooting touch. After leaving the Lakers he never averaged more than 5 points or played more than 12 minutes a game. Evans became a part-time starter who played more minutes than Cook but never averaged double figures in points
- Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant and two draft picks (one was used for Jordan Farmar, the other was inconsequential) for Shaquille O’Neal- 2004
This was a monumental deal involving one of the best Lakers ever, O’Neal, who was just beginning a long decline in his career but had enough left in the tank to help Miami win a title in 2006.
Odom had an outstanding seven-year career with the Lakers, averaging 13.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He was a vital part of two title teams. It can be argued that when the Lakers made the Finals three straight years in 2008-10, Odom was more important and a better fit for LA than a fading Shaq would have been.
Butler had one excellent year for the Lakers but was traded for Kwame Brown. But Brown was later included in the package for Pau Gasol, who combined with Kobe Bryant and Odom to lead the LA to two championships in 2009 and 2010.
The bottom line is that this was a trade that ultimately helped both teams.
So without further ado, let’s look at the Los Angeles Lakers 12 best trades.