8 Most Bizarre Trades in Los Angeles Lakers History
Lakers. Winning. The two words are synonymous.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been world champions 16 times with legendary players such as George Mikan, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
While the Lakers have had numerous moments of greatness, the franchise has had its fair share of strange, foolish moments too.
A recent example occurred when the Lakers traded Lamar Odom to the rival Dallas Mavericks for what seems like nothing.
Surprisingly, this wasn’t the only strange trade that has taken place in Lakers history.
Don’t believe me?
Well, here’s a list of the eight most bizarre trades in Lakers history.
Lamar Odom to Dallas Mavericks for Trade Exception and Draft Pick
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Surprisingly enough, Kupchak decided to trade Odom.
Even more surprising is the fact that he decided to trade him to the team that swept the Lakers in the playoffs last year: the Dallas Mavericks.
Just when it seemed like it couldn’t get more shocking, the Lakers only received a trade exception and a draft pick in return.
The oddness of the trade speaks for itself.
For the Lakers, it just doesn't make any sense.
Pau Gasol to Rockets and Lamar Odom to Hornets for Chris Paul
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I know, I know, this trade didn’t actually happen.
But that’s what makes it so bizarre.
On December 8, 2011, it seemed that Lakers basketball had entered a new era when they acquired Chris Paul...but not really.
Right when everyone thought the NBA landscape had completely changed, David Stern vetoed the blockbuster trade.
Stern’s veto was a catalyst for strange, strange things that really messed things up for the Lakers.
First of all, it made things very awkward for Pau Gasol during practice the next day, so awkward that GM Mitch Kupchak had to address the team on the situation.
Second, Lamar Odom felt extremely disrespected and consequently asked to be traded. As a result, the Lakers lost their biggest advantage: size.
On top of all that, the Lakers still lack a young superstar for the future.
What an odd series of events—that’s all I can say.
Caron Butler to Washington Wizards for Kwame Brown
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On August 2, 2005, Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins were traded to the Washington Wizards for Kwame Brown and Laron Profit.
In his one and only season with the Lakers, Butler displayed his enormous potential—he averaged 15.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 1.4 SPG.
During a very gloomy time of losing, Butler was one of the Lakers’ only bright lights.
So when the Lakers traded the 25-year-old to the Wizards, many were bewildered.
The fact that the Lakers received an ineffective center, Kwame Brown, in return just re-emphasizes how strangely lopsided the trade was.
While Butler went on to make two All-Star teams, Brown continued to frustrate all, and he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies after only two seasons with the Lakers.
Honestly, I’m still confused as to why this trade happened.
Eddie Jones to Charlotte Hornets for Glen Rice
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By the 1998-99 NBA season, the Lakers had two All-Stars in Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant that the team believed they could win a championship with.
However, the Lakers lacked one thing that they desperately needed in order to win a title: three-point shooting.
On March 10, 1999, the Lakers got a great shooter in Glen Rice, but they traded away a really good young player, Eddie Jones.
Although Rice was a big part of the Lakers’ 2000 championship team, the trade was bizarre for a couple of reasons.
First, Jones was a lot younger than Rice. At the time of the trade, Jones was only 27 years old, while Rice was a 31-year-old with 10 seasons already under his belt.
Clearly, Jones could have been plenty more beneficial to the team in the long run than Rice. In fact, Rice only played one full season with the Lakers, while Jones went on to average a career-high 20.1 PPG in his first season with the Charlotte Hornets.
In addition, Jones was a fan favorite who gelled very well with the team.
Rice, on the other hand, had trouble playing in the Lakers’ triangle offense.
Nick Van Exel to Denver Nuggets for Tony Battie and Tyronn Lue
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Nick Van Exel was a significant part of the post-Showtime Lakers.
Not only was he a flashy passer, but he also had very unique ways of getting to the basket and scoring.
Unfortunately, however, he didn’t get along with teammates Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Shaquille O’Neal. Furthermore, he didn’t have a good relationship with coach Del Harris.
Because of this, it makes sense that he was traded to the Denver Nuggets.
However, the fact that he was traded for so little in return is what makes the trade truly bizarre.
Tony Battie never played for the Lakers—he was traded to the Boston Celtics for a below-average center named Travis Knight.
Additionally, Tyronn Lue barely played for the Lakers—in three seasons, he appeared in only 61 games.
At the time of the trade, Van Exel was only 26 years old, and he had already made one All-Star team.
Clearly, the Lakers should have gotten a lot more in return for him.
Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton and Draft Picks to Grizzlies for Pau Gasol
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After a disappointing season in which the Lakers lost in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs to the Phoenix Suns, Kobe Bryant demanded to be traded.
Eventually, Bryant decided to stay, but it was evident that the Lakers needed to significantly improve the team’s supporting cast.
Then, out of nowhere, the Lakers acquired All-Star power forward Pau Gasol on February 3, 2008.
Although the trade made the Lakers the best team in the Western Conference, it was bizarre because it was both a surprise and extremely lopsided.
In order to get Gasol, the Lakers only had to give up Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton and two first-round draft picks.
In other words, they traded away an ineffective center, a young player without a very promising NBA future and two unproven players for one of the best power forwards in the game.
At the time, the trade clearly had unfair written all over it, which is what made it so odd.
Sam Perkins to the Seattle SuperSonics for Benoit Benjamin and Doug Christie
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Sam Perkins was one of the veteran leaders on a couple of the post-Showtime Lakers teams.
During the 1992-93 NBA season, the Lakers were struggling—through 43 games, their record was 22-21.
In order to enhance the lineup, the Lakers decided to trade Perkins, who was averaging 14 points and eight rebounds per game, to the Seattle SuperSonics for Benoit Benjamin and Doug Christie.
The trade was strange because it was unnecessary.
While it’s true that the Lakers needed improvement, trading away a productive veteran for an unproductive Benjamin, who averaged 4.5 PPG for the Lakers, and a guy who barely played in Doug Christie really wasn’t worth it.
Though the Lakers ended up making the playoffs, they finished with a record of 39-43.
Adrian Dantley to Utah Jazz for Spencer Haywood
Now, we go old school.
Adrian Dantley was a good player for the Los Angeles Lakers in the late 1970s.
In the 1978-79 NBA season, the 22-year-old scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds per game in 30 minutes of playing time. It seemed like he would be one of the Lakers’ stars of the future.
However, on September 13, 1979, Dantley was traded to the Utah Jazz for veteran Spencer Haywood.
Like many of the other trades on the list, this trade was strange because it didn’t make much sense.
Dantley was a promising young player who had the ability to bring success to any team he played on.
Haywood, on the other hand, was nearing the end of his career and didn’t have very many productive years ahead of him. In fact, he played only one season with the Lakers, and needless to say, he wasn’t very good.
Meanwhile, Dantley went on to make six All-Star teams during his Hall of Fame career.
Imagine what he could have done with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.