For the sake of clarity, the selections included here are free-agent signings and trades by the Los Angeles Lakers but not draft picks or draft day trades.
And for those who feel compelled to howl in protest because Kobe Bryant is not part of this—take a deep soothing breath. The Mamba would be listed here in a heartbeat except for the fact that he was selected by the Charlotte Hornets on behalf of the Lakers in the 1996 NBA draft.
The same goes for Magic Johnson—the No. 1 overall pick in 1979 won’t be listed here, and neither will Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, James Worthy, Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon or any other Lakers draftees.
It also doesn’t include the Lakers’ new head coach Byron Scott, who was drafted by the San Diego Clippers and then traded to the Lakers for Norm Nixon.
No, this is about the competition to land elite free agents and crazy multi-team blockbuster trades. Or, in the case of some of the players from yesteryear, the deals you used to read about in things called newspapers.
And on the subject of blockbusters, one of the best trades of all time can’t be included—the three-team agreement between the New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets and the Lakers that would have had Chris Paul wearing purple and gold if not for then NBA commissioner David Stern.
Finally, with all the caveats, consider one more—this isn’t a historical comparison of the greatest Lakers of all time but a look at both players and transactions as we know them.