17 People who turned their backs on the Los Angeles Lakers

These former Lakers did not leave on the best terms.
Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard
Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard / Harry How/GettyImages
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3. Spencer Haywood

Haywood was an all-time great player. The five-time All-Star and 1970 MVP was one of the league’s best scorers and rebounders from the moment he entered the league at 20 years old. He averaged 23.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game over a decade from 1969 to 1979.

The Lakers traded the blossoming Adrian Dantley to the Jazz for Haywood in 1979. They wanted someone who could play next to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the frontcourt, but the move quickly became a disaster. Dantley became a six-time All-Star and Hall of Famer in Utah, and Haywood’s lone season in LA was filled with headaches.

Haywood’s minutes dropped to 20.3 per game and things got so bad that head coach Paul Westhead suspended him after Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Haywood admitted to using drugs at the time and was not helping his team. The Lakers went on to win the championship without him, but it was a wild time. Nobody expected Haywood to perform so poorly or be such a distraction when they made the trade.

Spencer Haywood’s addiction led him to turn his back on the Los Angeles Lakers. He was waived after the season and was never the same player.