4 Biggest Los Angeles Lakers Trades

min read
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Al Harrington of the New York Knicks during the start of an NBA game.
(Wikimedia Commons/C. J.™)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Aug 03, 2023, 6:20 PM
  • Here's a list of the biggest Los Angeles Lakers trades in franchise history.
  • Wilt Chamberlain leads the list of players Los Angeles received through trade.
  • Other notable players the Lakers acquired were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol.

The Los Angeles Lakers are among the most decorated and successful teams in the NBA. The franchise has taken home a league-leading 17 championships, tied with their rivals, the Boston Celtics, as the winningest NBA franchises in history. Additionally, they have kept their place as favorites and legitimate contenders in basketball odds.

This success is mainly credited to the ability of the franchise’s front office to select young players in the draft and pull off big trades that instantly improved their roster and boosted their title chances. Speaking of trades, we’ve seen several massive trades that the Purple and Gold executed in the past. Here’s a list of the top-four trades in Lakers history.

Wilt Chamberlain

In 1968, the Los Angeles Lakers made their first massive trade by acquiring Wilt Chamberlain from the Philadelphia 76ers for Archie Clark, Jerry Chambers, and Darrall Imhoff. Before joining the Lakers, Chamberlain had already established himself as one of the most dominant players in the league with his stacked resume, which included a title, four MVPs, nine All-Star selections, and a 100-point performance in a single game.

The 7-foot-1 center completed the Los Angeles big three of Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. In his five-year tenure with the Lakers, Chamberlain helped the team reach the NBA Finals four times and win one title in 1972. “Wilt the Stilt” played 339 games as a Laker and averaged a double-double of 19.2 points and 17.7 rebounds with 4.3 assists.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Two seasons after Chamberlain’s retirement, the Lakers needed another superstar to make the franchise great again, and they found it through Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as they acquired him from the Milwaukee Bucks in 1975. Along with Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles also received Walt Wesley in exchange for Elmore Smith, Dave Meyers, Brian Winters, and Junior Bridgeman.

“The Big A” was already a proven winner with the Bucks before joining the Lakers with one title, three MVPs, and six NBA All-Star selections. Abdul-Jabbar was a big part of the Lakers franchise by playing for 14 seasons and helping them win five titles. He also added three more MVP awards and 13 NBA All-Stars before retiring in 1989. Abdul-Jabbar racked up an average of 22.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 1,093 games for Los Angeles.

Kobe Bryant

During the 1996 NBA Draft, the Lakers raised a few eyebrows after they traded their starting center Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for their 13th overall pick Kobe Bryant, a player straight out of high school. Many thought it was a big gamble for Los Angeles, especially for entrusting the keys of the franchise to a 17-year-old kid from Philadelphia.

But Bryant proved everyone wrong by becoming one of the greatest players in league history. He spent all his 20 seasons with the team, where he piled up a legendary resume of five NBA championships, one MVP, two NBA Finals MVPs, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and 11 All-NBA 1st team appearances. The “Black Mamba” finished his career with 33,643 points and an average of 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists.

Pau Gasol

Another big man that played an important role in Los Angeles Lakers history is Pau Gasol, acquired by the franchise in February 2008. This deal was also part of the Memphis Grizzlies’ biggest trades. Aside from Gasol, the Lakers also received a second-round pick for Marc Gasol, Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, and two first-round picks.

The Spanish-born center immediately became an integral part of the team that went on three straight trips to the NBA Finals in his first three seasons, where they ultimately won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. In 429 games, Gasol provided a solid stat line of 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists across seven seasons.

4 Biggest Los Angeles Lakers Trades

YearPlayer AcquiredTrade Details
1968Wilt ChamberlainLakers received: Wilt Chamberlain / Sixers received: Jerry Chambers, Archie Clark, and Darrall Imhoff
1975Kareem Abdul-JabbarLakers received: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar / Bucks received: Elmore Smith, Dave Meyers, Brian Winters, and Junior Bridgeman
1996Kobe BryantLakers received: Kobe Bryant / Hornets received: Vlade Divac
2008Pau GasolLakers received: Pau Gasol and a second-round pick / Grizzlies received: Kwame Brown, Marc Gasol, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, and two first-round picks

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.