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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9. Nick Van Exel

Van Exel was a second-round draft pick by the Lakers in 1993 and spent his first five NBA seasons with the franchise. The 6’1 guard was a starter from day one and became an All-Star in Tinseltown. It was during his lone All-Star season in 2008 that things began to sour with the Lakers.

Van Exel helped the franchise get back on track after Magic Johnson’s abrupt exit. They made the playoffs four straight years and won four playoff series. Los Angeles made the conference finals in 1998 but was on the verge of being knocked out by the Jazz for the second straight year when Van Exel made a joke nobody found funny.

It created the origins of 1,2,3 Cancun but was a disaster as it made it look like the All-Star had given up on the team. He gave up his starting role to Derek Fisher earlier in the year and now it looked like he was turning his back on the franchise entirely.

Lakers general manager Jerry West wasted no time trading Nick Van Exel after the season. He remained a starter for most of his career, but the 6’1 guard never made another All-Star appearance. He could have ascended further in LA, but his actions got him shipped out of town.