The 2012 Lakers and the 10 Most Monumental Offseasons in NBA History

Jeff NisiusContributor IISeptember 28, 2012

The 2012 Lakers and the 10 Most Monumental Offseasons in NBA History

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    The offseason is one of the most anticipated times in sports. Rookies are drafted, players are traded and teams sign new players. 

    Each fan has a fond memory of what an NBA offseason looks like. Some fans remember Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joining the Lakers, while others remember “The Decision” and LeBron James taking his talents to South Beach.

    This past summer, the Lakers were again the headliners by acquiring Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.  However, when assessing the greatest offseasons of all time, where does the Lakers' 2012 offseason rank?

10. 2012 Los Angeles Lakers

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    The 2012 Los Angeles Lakers were able to pair one of the best point guards of the new millennium, Steve Nash, with one of the most athletic big men ever to step foot on the hardwood, Dwight Howard. The two will team up with an all-time great in Kobe Bryant and All-Star forward Pau Gasol.

    The future is bright for Lakers fans, as a new face of the franchise will be developed during Bryant’s twilight years. However, high expectations remain, and the Lakers are certain to be in the mix for the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the next few years.

9. 2010 Miami Heat

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    Very few teams in league history have been able to add the type of talent the Miami Heat did in the summer of 2010. Pat Riley cleared nearly his entire payroll in order to acquire LeBron James and Chris Bosh, and also re-signed Dwyane Wade.

    The Heat were unable to meet lofty expectations in their first year together but won an NBA title in year two.

    Regardless of how many titles the trio wins together, the Heat acquired one of the greatest players in NBA history and an All-Star forward in the same offseason.

8. 1997 San Antonio Spurs

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    The San Antonio Spurs were coming off a season in which their star player, David Robinson, was injured for most of the season. As a result, the Spurs only won 20 games, but then selected Tim Duncan with the No. 1 pick.

    Duncan, who is commonly referred to as the greatest power forward of all time, would join Robinson and form the “Twin Towers.”

    Overall, Tim Duncan’s arrival in San Antonio has resulted in four NBA titles and helped transform a small-market Texas team into one of the premier organizations in the modern NBA.

7. 1980 Boston Celtics

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    The summer of 1980 saw Boston Celtics president Red Auerbach complete one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history. Auerbach traded the first and 13th picks in the draft to the Golden State Warriors for Robert Parish and the No. 3 pick, which he used to select Kevin McHale.

    Parish and McHale, two Hall of Famers, formed one of the greatest frontcourts in NBA history and teamed up with Larry Bird to lead the Celtics to three NBA titles.

6. 1978 Boston Celtics

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    In 1978, the Boston Celtics drafted Larry Bird with the sixth pick in the NBA draft. Bird’s presence was felt immediately, as he led the Celtics to a 32-game turnaround as a rookie. He became the centerpiece of a rejuvenated Celtics dynasty that would win three titles.

    Known as one of the greatest shooters of all time, Bird would win three NBA MVP awards, be selected to 12 All-Star games and cap his career by winning a gold medal with the 1992 Dream Team at the Barcelona Olympics.

5. 1975 Los Angeles Lakers

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    The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar era came shortly after Wilt Chamberlain retired in Tinseltown. Kareem was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975 for Junior Bridgeman, Dave Meyers, Elmore Smith and Brian Winters and turned out to be the first piece in a long-lasting Lakers dynasty. 

    Abdul-Jabbar would help lead the Lakers to five NBA titles and end his career as one of the greatest players in league history. He remains the all-time scoring leader in NBA history with 38,387 points and holds the most All-Star appearances with 19.

4. 1996 Los Angeles Lakers

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    In undoubtedly one of the greatest offseasons in professional sports history, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in a matter of weeks.

    The first high school guard ever to be selected in the NBA draft, Kobe Bryant was acquired on draft day from the Charlotte Hornets for Vlade Divac. Bryant’s legacy had a rough start, but he has emerged as one of the greatest shooting guards the league has ever seen.

    Not long after the Lakers acquired Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal decided to leave Orlando and sign a $121 million contract with L.A.

    Shaq and Kobe would win three straight NBA titles from 2000 to 2002, with Kobe adding another two in 2009 and 2010.

3. 1979 Los Angeles Lakers

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    The Los Angeles Lakers won a coin flip to determine the No. 1 pick in the 1979 NBA draft. They selected one of the greatest point guards of all time, Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

    Magic would team with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to form one of the greatest duos in league history. Together the two would lead the Lakers to five NBA titles and transform Lakers basketball into “Showtime.”

    Ultimately, Magic Johnson would reach nine NBA Finals and win three league MVP awards and three NBA Finals MVP awards, including one as a rookie.

2. 1984 Chicago Bulls

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    The Chicago Bulls may have hit the biggest jackpot in league history when Michael Jordan fell into their laps with the third pick of the 1984 NBA draft.

    “His Airness” immediately burst onto the scene by winning the Rookie of the Year Award and earning a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. 

    Eventually, Jordan would lead the Bulls to six NBA titles, becoming arguably the greatest player in NBA history. Jordan also helped transform the league into the media-savvy, high-flying NBA we see today.

1. 1956 Boston Celtics

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    Boston Celtics fans will never forget the draft-day trade that sent Bill Russell from the St. Louis Hawks to Boston. St. Louis did not have enough money to sign Russell, whom it picked No. 2 overall, allowing the Celtics to trade for Russell.

    Additionally, the Celtics drafted K.C. Jones and Tom Heinsohn, which led to the creation of the greatest dynasty in NBA history. 

    Bill Russell would lead the Celtics to 11 of the next 13 NBA championships and become one of the greatest defenders in league history.

    Russell also became the league's first African-American head coach in 1966.