10 Former players that have excelled since leaving the Los Angles Lakers

A number of players have passed through the hallowed halls of the Crypto.com Arena, but which former Los Angeles Lakers have actually thrived since leaving?
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans / Tyler Kaufman/GettyImages
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As 17-time champions, the Los Angeles Lakers are a dream destination for an infinite number of NBA hopefuls. Generations have grown up watching decorated Lakers duos such as Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, and now Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

From time to time, however, the dream of playing for the Lakers ends up being more of a launching pad for careers that end up thriving outside of Los Angeles.

That has become particularly true in recent seasons, as the Lakers have swung for the fences on trades that have resulted in the loss of key contributors. Whether those players were shipped out as a part of said trades or simply let go of because of cap restrictions, Los Angeles has seen a number of high-level players leave the franchise.

Of those active players, 10 stand out as the very best at thriving in a career beyond Los Angeles—starting with a player who has since added a second championship to their résumé.

1. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver Nuggets

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played four seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. He spent two full seasons as the team's starting shooting guard, moving to an important bench role across two others, as a 3-and-D player both before and after the acquisition of LeBron James.

Caldwell-Pope received his fair share of criticism as he looked to find his rhythm with the Lakers, but his success since leaving is impossible to ignore when thinking of what could've been.

After spending one productive season with the lowly Washington Wizards, Caldwell-Pope joined the Denver Nuggets in 2022. In the two seasons since, he's helped Denver win its first-ever championship and set the franchise record for wins in an NBA season.

Individually, Caldwell-Pope has emerged as one of the top 3-and-D players in the NBA, shooting above 40 percent from beyond the arc while defending at an exceptional level.

This has been discouraging for the Lakers, as Caldwell-Pope has truthfully been the exact type of player that the team has needed over the past two seasons. He shot 41.0 percent from beyond the arc in his final season in Los Angeles, so perhaps the organization could've seen this coming.

Regardless, Caldwell-Pope played a massive role in helping the Lakers win the 2020 NBA championship, averaging 29.0 minutes per game that postseason.