The Lakers are one of the most decorated teams in NBA history. In fact, the franchise has captured a league-leading 16 titles, which is currently tied with the Boston Celtics for most in league history. Although the Lakers have won a lot of gold over the years, that doesn’t mean that the franchise hasn’t also faced some lulls, including some disappointing high profile acquisitions. For this piece, let’s take a look at 10 All-Star acquisitions that never benefited the Lakers.
Spencer Haywood was a star for the Seattle Supersonics in the early to mid 1970’s. In fact, Haywood became a four-time All-Star. The Lakers then decided to trade a promising Adrian Dantley for the Haywood. Even though he won an NBA title with the Lakers, he posted the second worst numbers of his career. In fact, he only appeared in two games during the 1980 NBA Finals, averaging 1.0 point per game. But more importantly, Haywood’s cocaine addiction was the main culprit to his immediate decline, as seen on HBO’s Winning Time.
Unlike other players in this list, Isaiah Thomas had two stints with the Lakers. Unfortunately nothing fruitful came out of them. After a failed comeback attempt from injury, the two time All-Star was traded from Cleveland to Los Angeles midway through the 2017-2018 season. Although he showed flashes, his hip injury continued to hamper his production. In 2021, he briefly returned to the Lakers on a 10-day deal. Unfortunately, he was no longer the All-Star he once was.
In an attempt to bring the Lakers back to the glorious three-peat, the franchise brought in Karl Malone. At 40 years old, Malone was no longer close to his prime. Although he helped the Lakers reach another trip to the Finals, Malone couldn’t do anything to contain a dominant Ben Wallace as the Detroit Pistons easily dispatched the Lakers.
Like Karl Malone, Gary Payton also signed with the Lakers during the offseason with the hopes of winning a championship. Although he posted decent averages during the regular season, Payton was a non-factor when the underdog Pistons squad led by Chauncey Billups outlasted the Lakers in five games.
Before joining the Lakers, Dennis Rodman won back-to-back titles with the Pistons and a three-peat with the Bulls. The two-time All-Star was a welcome acquisition at that time to support the duo of Kobe and Shaq. However, Rodman would only suit up for 23 games with the team. He averaged 11.2 rebounds per outing, Rodman was constantly arriving late to practice. Unfortunately, the Lakers received an unmotivated Rodman who became a distraction.
Preparing for life after Kobe Bryant was hard. However, no one expected the Lakers’ front office to mess it up this bad. After Bryant’s retirement, the Lakers signed two-time All-Star Luol Deng to a four year deal, worth $72 million. But as we all know, Deng never lived up to the contract. He appeared in only 57 games and averaged measly numbers. To make matters worse, the Lakers had to keep paying him until 2022 despite retiring from the NBA in the 2018-2019 season.
In an attempt to maximize LeBron James’ championship window, the Lakers broke their young core in exchange for Anthony Davis. Apart from AD, they also signed four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins. However, after suffering an injury during the offseason, Cousins would never play a single game for the Lakers that went on to win a NBA championship.
In the buildup to the 2021-2022 season, the Lakers strangely pieced together a group of former Lakers and former All-Stars. One of the notable players was DeAndre Jordan. Jordan shined in his Lob City Days with the Clippers. However, due to age, the former All-Star struggled to find a home. His stopover with the Lakers wasn’t any different. Although he started some games, Jordan’s contributions were hardly noticeable.
After the Lakers weren’t impressed with Marc Gasol, the team dealt with a front court crisis in the midst of their title defense. Looking for a center to partner with AD, the Lakers took advantage of their buyout opportunities by signing two-time All-Star and NBA rebounding leader Andre Drummond. Unfortunately, bringing in Drummond negatively affected the chemistry of the team. Furthermore, with little time to practice for the postseason together, the Andre Drummond experiment was deemed a failure after the Lakers opted not to bring him back the following season.
Although Laker fans celebrated Steve Nash’s arrival to Los Angeles, that was short lived. The Lakers formed an All-Star five of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Dwight Howard, and Steve Nash. Four of those five players won titles with the Lakers but Nash never did. In his time with the Lakers, Nash no longer played like the two-time NBA MVP that dominated as a facilitator. Furthermore, at 38, he also missed a huge chunk of games in order to tend to nagging injuries that eventually forced him to hang up his basketball sneakers.