With 2018 free agency set to get underway, we take a look at the 10 greatest Lakers acquisitions of all-time.
No. 10: Kurt Rambis, Free Agent (1981)
Kurt Rambis was never someone to fill up the stat sheet. Rambis signed with the Lakers in 1981, and although his signing didn't reach major headlines, he was an important piece to the "Showtime" Lakers. Rambis was a hustle player, and was always on the floor diving for loose balls and extending plays. He may never make it to the Hall of Fame, but the Lakers might not have won four titles without him.
No. 9: Rick Fox, Free Agent (1997)
The Lakers signed Rick Fox in 1997 after spending multiple seasons in Boston. Fox was known for his solid three-point shooting and tough play. He was part of the Lakers three-peat team, and seemed to come up big every time Kobe or Shaq needed him.
No. 8: Ron Artest, Acquired from Houston Rockets in exchange for Trevor Ariza (2009)
One of the more interesting characters the Lakers have ever had came in the summer of 2009. Although Ron Artest had a rocky past, he brought his defensive toughness with him to Los Angeles. He played hard at both ends of the floor and was often tasked with guarding the opposition's best perimeter player. In 2010, Artest helped the Lakers capture an NBA title with a huge performance in Game 7.
No. 7: Lamar Odom, Acquired from Heat in Shaquille O'Neal Trade (2004)
After a disappointing Finals loss to the Detroit Pistons, the Lakers began a slight rebuilding phase. With Kobe and Shaq not seeing eye-to-eye, the Lakers shipping out their star big man to the Heat for Caron Butler, Brian Grant, a first-round draft pick and, most importantly, Lamar Odom. Odom provided the Lakers with an asset who could play all positions. During his time with the Lakers, Odom thrived in the triangle offense and won two championships with the team. He also received the 6th Man of the Year award for the 2010-11 season.
No. 6: Robert Horry, Acquired in four-player deal with the Suns (1997)
Throughout his career, Robert Horry was known for coming up big down the wire. It was no coincidence that he earned the nickname Big Shot Bob. Horry was a 6'9 clutch stretch-four and was a part of the Lakers' three-peat in the early 2000s. Lakers fans will always remember when he nailed a buzzer-beater against the Kings in the 2002 Western Conference Finals.
No. 5: Jamaal Wilkes, Free Agency (1977)
With one of the highest release points the league has ever seen, Jamall Wilkes was one of the smoothest players to wear the Purple & Gold. Wilkes signed with the franchise in the summer of 1977, and won three titles during his stint with the team. One of his top moments came in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals, when he scored 37 points to help secure a championship.
No. 4: Pau Gasol, Acquired from Grizzlies (2008)
In the middle of the 2007-08 season, the Lakers needed help. Andrew Bynum was out for the season and Kwame Brown wasn't cutting it at center. Lakers GM at the time Mitch Kupchak put together a package of Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the rights to Marc Gasol and two future first-round picks in exchange for Memphis Grizzlies forward Paul Gasol and a future second-round pick. Gasol was the perfect fit for Phil Jackon's triangle offense, as he helped the franchise reach three NBA Finals, winning two titles. The versatile Spaniard also tallied three consecutive All-Star appearance during his stint with the Lakers.
No. 3: Wilt Chamberlain, Acquired from 76ers (1968)
Wilt Chamberlain was a dominant force before he joined the Lakers, and by the time the Lakers got him, he was a bit past his prime. That didn't stop him from making an immediate impact. In his first season with the team, Wilt averaged 27.3 points and 18.4 boards. The Big Dipper also brought an NBA title to the organization in 1972, winning Finals MVP honors.
No. 2: Shaquille O'Neal, Free Agent (1996)
The Lakers were stuck in a grey area after the 1995-96 season. They weren't bad, but they weren't a contender either. That would soon change with the signing of an immovable force. Shaquille O'Neal signed with the Lakeshow in the summer of '96, and would eventually lead the franchise to three consecutive NBA championships to go along with three Finals MVP awards. He also won a league MVP award in 2000. The Diesel was an unstoppable force at 7'1 and 325 pounds, and the Lakers signed him at just the right time.
No. 1: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Acquired from Bucks (1975)
Why is Kareem the best acquisition the Lakers made? In his 14 seasons with the Lakers, Kareem helped lead the "Showtime" Lakers to five NBA titles on his way to winning three MVP awards. He also and ended up with the most career points in NBA history with 38,397, the majority of which came with the Purple & Gold. The Lakers are a decorated franchise with some of the best players in NBA history, but The Captain makes a strong case as the team's greatest ever.
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