SG: Caron Butler
From 1995 to 2013, the Lakers missed the playoffs just one time. That spanned from before Kobe and Shaq to the Kobe and Pau era as the franchise won five rings over that stretch.
The only year they missed the postseason was 2005. The Lakers had just traded Shaq to the Miami Heat for Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, and two draft picks. Kobe only played 66 games, and LA was trying to figure out how to win without a dominant big man in the paint.
Butler was the second-leading scorer during his lone season with the Lakers as he averaged 15.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.4 steals in 35.7 minutes per game. The 6’7 wing formed a strong bond with Kobe and quickly became a fan favorite, but he was traded to the Wizards for Kwame Brown and Laron Profit just one year after landing in LA.
That trade was a bust. The Lakers took a shot on Brown’s immense potential, but he failed to live up to the hype in LA as Caron Butler became a two-time All-Star in Washington. Butler went on to play in the NBA for 14 years. His lone season with the Lakers did not go as planned, but he made an impact during his short stay and remained friends with Kobe.