6 former Lakers who would’ve turned LA into true title contenders this season

The Lakers need these former players on their roster to be title contenders.
Los Angeles Lakers, Alex Caruso, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, Alex Caruso, LeBron James / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Brook Lopez

Lopez’s one season with the Lakers was a disaster. He was part of the D’Angelo Russell trade in 2017, but the 7’1 big man played the fewest minutes of his career as LA finished 12 games under .500 and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season. The Lakers had a shot to re-sign him, but he instead went to the Bucks on a one-year $3.3 million contract.

Magic Johnson and the Lakers front office quickly regretted the decision. Lopez has spent the last six seasons in Milwaukee playing next to Giannis Antetokounmpo where he has transformed from star into crucial role player. The 35-year-old was first-team All-Defense and finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2023.

Los Angeles is always searching for a big man to play next to Anthony Davis. They had the perfect answer, but the Lakers did not play him enough and let him walk in free agency.

In Milwaukee, Brook Lopez has developed a consistent 3-point shot and improved his block rate. He is a crucial piece for the Bucks and helped them win a championship in 2021. Every team wants a rim-protecting stretch five. Lopez might be doing that for the Los Angeles Lakers if their front office prioritized re-signing him in the summer of 2018, but it just was not meant to be.