Chris Paul and 10 Acquisitions That Changed the Los Angeles Lakers

Alan Rubenstein@@uarubyAnalyst IIIDecember 12, 2011

Chris Paul and 10 Acquisitions That Changed the Los Angeles Lakers

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    The Lakers always seem to get their man. From Wilt to Kareem, Magic to Shaq, Kobe to Pau and now possibly Chris Paul. The Lakers have been a part of some of the biggest free-agent acquisitions and trades in NBA History. Each of them have played a major part in rebuilding the Lakers or helping them win a championship.

    The potential acquisition of Chris Paul from New Orleans would give the Lakers one of the best backcourts in NBA History. The Lakers have been the most aggressive franchise in NBA History at pursuing the players they want and need. Here is a look at the franchise-building trades and free-agent signings the Lakers have made over the decades.

10. Jamaal Wilkes from Golden State

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    The Lakers signed Wilkes as a free agent from Golden State for cash and a 1978 first-round draft pick (Purvis Short). After helping the Warriors win the 1975 NBA Championship as a rookie, Wilkes was the starting small forward for the Lakers during their 1980 and 1982 NBA title seasons. He averaged 20 points per game three times during his tenure in Los Angeles and 19.6 PPG in his fourth season.

9. Lamar Odom from Miami

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    Lamar Odom was a major part of the trade that sent Shaquille O’Neal to the Heat. They say the best trades are the ones that help both teams. This one netted both the Heat and the Lakers NBA titles. Odom was traded to the Lakers with Caron Butler, Brian Grant, a 2006 first-round draft pick (Jordan Farmar) and a 2007 second-round draft pick (Renaldas Seibutis) for O'Neal.

    He has given the Lakers a versatile player that can play all five positions and gives them great length at 6’11". Odom won the 2011 Sixth Man of the Year award.

8. Pau Gasol from Memphis for Various Draft Picks and Players.

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    After the Lakers traded away Shaquille O’Neal to Miami, the Lakers struggled to regain their place among the NBA’s elite franchises.  The acquisition of Gasol changed that.

    He has been one of their most consistent players since arriving before the 2008 trade deadline from Memphis with a 2010 second-round draft pick (Devin Ebanks) to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol, a 2008 first-round draft pick (Donte Greene) and a 2010 first-round draft pick (Greivis Vasquez).

    Only Gasol’s brother Marc has paid dividends in that trade for the Grizzlies. Pau has made three All-Star teams for L.A. and helped them to make three NBA Finals appearances, winning in 2009 and 2010.

7. Byron Scott from the Clippers

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    Byron Scott from the Clippers with Swen Nater for Eddie Jordan, Norm Nixon, a 1986 second-round draft pick (Jeff Hornacek) and a 1987 second-round draft pick (Bruce Dalrymple).

    Scott played 11 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Lakers. He was a starter on three of their five NBA Championship teams during the 1980s. He had his best seasons during those championship years. Scott led the NBA in three-point percentage during the 1985 season.

6. James Worthy and the Rights to the 1st Pick in the 1982 Draft

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    Amazingly, the Lakers only had to trade Don Ford to Cleveland for the Cavaliers' 1982 first-round draft pick and Butch Lee.

    Ford spent only three seasons in Cleveland and never averaged better than 7.3 PPG. Worthy spent his entire 12-year NBA career with the Lakers. He was a starter on three of their five championships during the 1980s. He was the Finals MVP in 1980 and a seven-time All-Star and he epitomized the showtime Lakers. 

5. Shaquille O’Neal from Orlando

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    The Lakers signed O’Neal away from Orlando with a seven-year, $121 million contract. In his eight seasons in L.A., O’Neal led the league in field-goal percentage six times, won the NBA MVP during the 1999-2000 season and led the Lakers to three NBA titles from 2000-02, during which he captured the Finals MVP during each of those seasons. They also advanced to the 2004 NBA Finals. Only his feuding with Kobe Bryant prevented the Lakers from expanding on their dynasty.

4. The 13th Pick in the '97 Draft (Kobe Bryant) for Vlade Divac

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    Vlade Divic was a key contributor for the Lakers during the early and mid-1990s. He became expendable when Shaquille O’Neal joined the Lakers during the summer of 1996. They traded Divac to the Hornets for the right to the 13th pick in the 1997 draft, which turned out to be Bryant. The drafting of high school players was still relatively new at the time and only Kevin Garnett proved to be a success.

    Bryant is one of the top five Lakers of all time and one of the greatest players in NBA History. With five titles, he needs only one more to match Michael Jordan’s total of six. Bryant has won two NBA Finals MVPs, the 2008 NBA MVP, made 12 All-Star game appearances and led the league in scoring twice.

3. Gail Goodrich to Jazz for Draft Pick Used To Select Magic Johnson

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    Gail Goodrich was a key component to the Lakers' success in the late 1960s and early 1970s. When star players left for free agency in the 1970s, teams were often rewarded with compensation. The Lakers received the Jazz’s first-round picks from 1977-79 and a second-round pick. The 1979 pick turned into Magic Johnson. Along with the acquisition of Abdul-Jabbar, that led the way for the 1980’s dynasty.

    Magic led the league in assists per game four times, won the NBA MVP three times and the Finals MVP three times. He revolutionized the point guard position. He was the first player of his size (6’9") to play the position.

    When Abdul-Jabbar got hurt during the 1980s finals against the 76ers, Johnson moved from the point to center. He scored 42 points, 15 rebounds and had seven assists as the Lakers won their first title in seven years. He would lead them to four more during his illustrious career. On a franchise full of stars, Magic is the greatest Laker ever.

2. Wilt Chamberlain Acquired from Philadelphia 76ers

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    Chamberlain was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers for Jerry Chambers, Archie Clark and Darrall Imhoff before the 1968-69 season. This marked the first time in NBA history that a reigning MVP was traded after the season. In his four full seasons in Los Angeles, the Stilt led the NBA in rebounding every year. He only played in 12 games during the 1969-70 season because of a knee injury.

    He helped the Lakers capture their first NBA title (while winning Finals MVP) in Los Angeles in 1971-72, after eight consecutive losses in the Finals. They also made three other finals appearances during Wilt’s tenure, but lost.

1. Kareem-Abdul Jabbar from Milwaukee

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    This is the trade that set the groundwork for the Laker dynasty of the 1980s. Kareem told the Bucks he wanted out of Milwaukee. He requested a trade to either his hometown of New York where he starred at Power Memorial as Lew Alcindor or to Los Angeles where he dominated at UCLA.

    The Bucks eventually acquired Junior Bridgeman, Dave Meyers, Elmore Smith and Brian Winters for Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley. Bridgeman, Meyers and Winters did help the Bucks dominate the central division for most of the 1980s, but they were never able to advance past the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Abdul-Jabbar became arguably the most accomplished center in NBA history because of his tenure with the Lakers. After leading the Bucks to their only NBA Championship, he was a part of five championship teams in Los Angeles. After winning three MVP awards with the Bucks, he captured three more with the Lakers, was the 1985 NBA Finals MVP and became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in a Laker uniform.