Celtics Title Town


Enemy: Lakers page

About The Enemy

The franchise started with the 1947 purchase of a disbanded team, the Detroit Gems of the NBL. The new team began play in Minneapolis, Minnesota, calling themselves the Lakers in honor of the state's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes".The Lakers won five championships in Minneapolis, propelled by center George Mikan, who is described by the NBA's official website as the league's "first superstar". After struggling financially in the late 1950s following Mikan's retirement, they relocated to Los Angeles before the 1960–61 season.

Led by Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, Los Angeles made the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s, but lost each series to the Boston Celtics, beginning their long and storied rivalry. In 1968, the Lakers acquired four time MVP Wilt Chamberlain to play center, and after losing in the Finals in 1969 and 1970, they won their sixth NBA title—and first in Los Angeles—in 1972, led by new head coach Bill Sharman. After the retirement of West and Chamberlain, the team acquired another center, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had won multiple MVP awards, but was unable to make the Finals in the late 1970s. The 1980s Lakers were nicknamed "Showtime" due to their Magic Johnson-led fast break-offense, and won five championships in a nine-year span, including their first ever Finals championship against the Celtics in 1985. This team featured Hall of Famers in Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy, and a Hall of Fame coach, Pat Riley. After Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson's retirement, the team struggled in the early 1990s before acquiring Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in 1996. Led by O'Neal, Bryant, and another Hall of Fame coach, Phil Jackson, Los Angeles won three consecutive titles between 2000 to 2002, securing the franchise its first "three-peat". After losing both the 2004 and 2008 NBA Finals, the Lakers won two more championships by defeating the Orlando Magic in 2009 and Boston in 2010.

The Lakers hold the record for NBA's longest winning streak (33), set during the 1971–72 season, it is also the longest of any team in American professional sports. Sixteen Hall of Famers have played for Los Angeles, while four have coached the team. Four Lakers—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant—have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Awards for a total of eight awards.

1947–1959: Beginnings and Minneapolis dynasty

The Lakers' franchise began in 1947 when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen of Minnesota purchased the recently disbanded Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League (NBL) for $15,000 from Gems owner Maury Winston. Minneapolis sportswriter Sid Hartman played a key behind the scenes role in helping put together the deal and later the team. Inspired by Minnesota's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes", the team christened themselves the Lakers. Hartman helped them hire John Kundla from College of St. Thomas, to be their first head coach, by meeting with him and selling him on the team.

The Lakers had a solid roster which featured forward Jim Pollard, playmaker Herm Schaefer, and center George Mikan, who became the most dominant player in the NBL. In their first season, they led the league with a 43–17 record.

In 1948, the Lakers moved from the NBL to the Basketball Association of America (BAA), and Mikan's 28.3 point per game (ppg) scoring average set a BAA record. In the 1949 BAA Finals they won the championship, beating the Washington Capitols four games to two. The following season, the team improved to 51–17, repeating as champions. In the 1950–51 season, Mikan won his third straight scoring title at 28.4 ppg and the Lakers went 44–24 to win their second straight division title. One of those games, a 19–18 loss against the Fort Wayne Pistons, became infamous as the lowest scoring game in NBA history. In the playoffs, they defeated the Indianapolis Olympians in three games but lost to the Rochester Royals in the next round.

During the 1951–52 season the Lakers won 40 games, finishing second in their division. They faced the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals, which they won in seven games. In the 1952–53 season, Mikan led the NBA in rebounding, averaging 14.4 rebounds per game (rpg), and was named MVP of the 1953 NBA All-Star Game. After a 48–22 regular season, the Lakers defeated the Fort Wayne Pistons in the Western playoffs to advance to the NBA Finals. They then defeated the New York Knicks to win their second straight championship. Though Lakers star George Mikan suffered from knee problems throughout the 1953–54 season, he was still able to average 18 ppg. Clyde Lovellette, who was drafted in 1952, helped the team win the Western Division.The team won its third straight championship in the 1950s and fifth in six seasons when it defeated the Syracuse Nationals in seven games.

Following Mikan's retirement in the 1954 off-season, the Lakers struggled but still managed to win 40 games. Although they defeated the Rochester Royals in the first round of the playoffs, they were defeated by the Fort Wayne Pistons in the semifinals. Although they had losing records the next two seasons, they made the playoffs each year. Mikan came back for the last half of the 1955–56 season, but struggled and retired for good after the season. Led by Lovellete's 20.6 points and 13.5 rebounds, they advanced to the Conference Finals in 1956–57. The Lakers had one of the worst seasons in team history in 1957–58 when they won a league-low 19 games. They had hired Mikan, who had been the team's general manager for the previous two seasons, as head coach to replace Kundla. Mikan was fired in January when the team was 9–30, and Kundla was rehired.

The Lakers earned the top pick in the 1958 NBA Draft and used it to select Elgin Baylor. Baylor, who was named NBA Rookie of the Year and co-MVP of the 1959 NBA All-Star Game, averaged 24.9 ppg and 15.0 rpg helping the Lakers improve to second in their division despite a 33–39 record. After upsetting the Hawks in six games in the division finals, they returned to the NBA Finals, but were swept by the Celtics, beginning their long rivalry.

In their last year in Minneapolis, the Lakers went 25–50. On January 18, 1960, the team was coming off a loss and traveling to St. Louis when their plane crashed. Snow storms had driven the pilot 150 miles off course when he was forced to land in a cornfield. No one was hurt. Their record earned them the number two pick in the 1960 NBA Draft. The team selected Jerry West from West Virginia University. Led by Baylor's 34.8 ppg and 19.8 rpg, Los Angeles won 11 more than the year before in West's first season. On November 15 that season, Baylor set a new NBA scoring record when he scored 71 points in a victory against the New York Knicks while grabbing 25 rebounds. In doing so, Baylor broke his own NBA record of 64 points. Despite a losing record, the Lakers made the playoffs. They came within two points of the NBA Finals when they lost in game seven of their second round series against St. Louis.

Led by Baylor and West at 38.3 and 30.8 ppg respectively,[37] the Lakers improved to 54–26 in 1961–62, and made the finals. In a game five victory, Baylor grabbed 22 rebounds and set the still-standing NBA record for points in a finals game with 61, despite fouling out of the game.The Lakers, however, lost to the Celtics by three points in overtime of game seven. Frank Selvy, after making two jumpers in the final 40 seconds to tie the game, missed a potential game-winning 18 foot jump shot in regulation, a miss which he said in June 2010 still haunted him more than 40 years later.

Los Angeles won 53 games in 1962–63, behind Baylor's 34.0 ppg and West's 27.1 ppg but lost in the NBA Finals in six games to the Celtics.After falling to 42–38 and losing in the first round of the 1964 NBA Playoffs to the Hawks, the team won 49 games in 1964–65. The Lakers surged past the Baltimore Bullets in the division finals, behind West's record-setting 46.3 ppg in the series.They lost again to Celtics in the Finals however, this time in five games.

Los Angeles lost in the finals to Boston in seven games again in 1966, this time by two points. Down by 16 entering the fourth quarter, and 10 with a minute and a half to go, the Lakers mounted a furious rally in the closing moments which fell just short. After dropping to 36 wins and losing in the first round of the 1967 NBA Playoffs, they lost in the finals to the Celtics again in 1968. Los Angeles moved to a brand-new arena, The Forum, in 1967, after playing seven seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.

On July 9, 1968, the team acquired Wilt Chamberlain from the Philadelphia 76ers for Darrell Imhoff, Archie Clark, and Jerry Chambers.In his first season as a Laker, Chamberlain set a team record by averaging a league-leading 21.1 rpg. West, Baylor, and Chamberlain each averaged over 20 points, and Los Angeles won their division. The Lakers and Celtics again met in the finals, and Los Angeles had home court advantage against Boston for the first time in their rivalry. They won the first game behind Jerry West's 53 points, and had a 3–2 lead after five. Boston won the series in seven games however, and earned their 11th NBA Championship in 13 seasons. West was named the first-ever Finals MVP; this remains the only time that a member of the losing team has won the award. In 1970, West won his first scoring title at 31.2 ppg, the team returned to the finals, and for the first time in 16 years, they did not have to face the Celtics; instead playing the New York Knicks, who defeated them 4–3. The next season the Lakers were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks, led by future Laker Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in the Western Conference Finals.

The 1971–72 season brought several changes. Owner Jack Kent Cooke brought in Bill Sharman as head coach, and Elgin Baylor announced his retirement early in the season after realizing that his legs were not healthy enough. Sharman increased the team's discipline. He introduced the concept of the shootaround, where players would arrive at the arena early in the morning before a game to practice shots. They won 14 straight games in November and all 16 games played in December. They won three straight to open the year of 1972 but on January 9, the Milwaukee Bucks ended their winning streak by defeating the Lakers, 120–104. By winning 33 straight games, Los Angeles set a record for longest winning streak of any team in American professional sports. The Lakers won 69 games that season, which stood as the NBA record for 24 years until the Chicago Bulls won 72 games in 1995–96. Chamberlain averaged a career-low 14.8 points but led the league in rebounding at 19.2 a game.West's 9.7 assists per game (apg) led the league, he also averaged more than 25 points, and was named MVP of the 1972 NBA All-Star Game. The team failed to score 100 points just once all year, and at the end of the season, Bill Sharman was named Coach of the Year. The Lakers went on to reach the finals against the New York Knicks where they would avenge their 1970 finals loss by defeating them 4 games to 1. Chamberlain tallied 24 points and 29 rebounds in game five and won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award.

The Lakers won 60 games in the 1972–73 NBA season, and took another Pacific Division title.Wilt Chamberlain, playing in his final season, again led the league in rebounding and set the still standing NBA record for field-goal percentage at 72.7%. The team defeated the Chicago Bulls in seven games in the conference semifinals, then the Golden State Warriors in five in the Western Division Finals. They played the New York Knicks in the 1973 NBA Finals. Los Angeles took the first game by three points, but New York won the series in five games.

During the 1973–74 season, the team was hampered by the loss of West, who played only 31 games before his legs gave out. Goodrich, averaging 25.3 points, helped the team to a late-season surge. Trailing the Golden State Warriors by three games with seven left to play, the Lakers rallied to finish 47–35 and win the Pacific Division. They made the playoffs but managed just one win against Milwaukee in the conference semifinals. Following the season, West retired due to contract disagreements with Cooke, and filed a suit for unpaid back wages.

After missing the playoffs in the 1974–75 season, the Lakers acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had won league MVP's by that time. Abdul-Jabbar wanted out of Milwaukee, demanding a trade to either New York or Los Angeles. He was traded for Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Junior Bridgeman, and Dave Meyers. Abdul-Jabbar had his fourth MVP season in 1975–76, leading the league in rebounding, blocked shots, and minutes played. The Los Angeles struggled in January, going 3–10, and finished out of the playoffs at 40–42.

West and Cooke settled their differences—and the former Laker's lawsuit—and Cooke hired him to replace Sharman as the team's coach. West became upset, however, when Cooke refused to spend the money necessary to acquire forward Julius Erving, who the Nets were selling. Behind another MVP season from Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles won the Pacific Division, finishing the 1976–77 season a league-best 53–29. They defeated the Warriors in a seven-game series to open the postseason before being swept by Portland in the Western Conference Finals. During the offseason, Los Angeles picked up Jamaal Wilkes from Golden State and signed first-round draft pick Norm Nixon. In the first two minutes of the first game of the 1977–78 season, Abdul-Jabbar punched Bucks center Kent Benson for an overly aggressive elbow and broke his hand.Two months later, a healthy Abdul-Jabbar got into an altercation with Houston Rockets center Kevin Kunnert after a rebound. The team's starting power forward, Kermit Washington, who was averaging 11.5 points and 11.2 rebounds, entered the fight, and when Rudy Tomjanovich ran in from the bench to break up the action, Washington punched him in the face. Tomjanovich nearly died from the punch, suffering a fractured skull and other facial injuries which prematurely ended his playing career. Washington, who stated that he assumed Tomjanovich was a combatant, was suspended for two months by the NBA, and released by the Lakers. The team won 45 games despite being down a starter in Washington and not having Abdul-Jabbar for nearly two months, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to Seattle.During the 1978–79 season, the team posted a 47–35 record but lost to the SuperSonics in the semifinal round of the playoffs.

In the 1979 NBA Draft, Los Angeles selected 6-foot, 9-inch point guard Magic Johnson from Michigan State with the first overall pick. It took Johnson's teammates time to acclimate themselves to his passing ability, as his "no-look" passes often caught them unaware. Once they adjusted, his passing became a key part of Los Angeles' offense. The Lakers won 60 games in Johnson's rookie year, and defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in six games in the 1980 NBA Finals. Johnson won the series Finals MVP award, after starting at center for the injured Abdul-Jabbar in game six, and tallying 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists. The team fell off in the 1980–81 season, though, as the Lakers lost Johnson for most of the season to a knee injury. The team turned in a 54–28 record and finished second behind the Phoenix Suns in the Pacific Division. The Rockets, led by Moses Malone, defeated Los Angeles in the first round of the playoffs.

Early in the 1981–82 season, Johnson complained to the media about head coach Paul Westhead and demanded a trade. Westhead was fired shortly after Johnson's criticisms, and although Lakers' owner Jerry Buss stated that Johnson's comments did not factor into the decision, Johnson was vilified by the national media and booed both on the road and at home. Buss promoted assistant coach Pat Riley to "co-head coach" with Jerry West (although West considered himself Riley's assistant) on November 19 and the team won 17 of its next 20 games. Nicknamed "Showtime" due to the team's new Johnson-led fast break-offense, the Lakers won the Pacific Division title and swept both the Suns and Spurs. Los Angeles stretched its postseason winning streak to nine games by taking the first contest of the NBA Finals from the 76ers. The team won the Finals 4–2 to finish a 12–2 playoff run. On draft night in 1982, the Lakers had the first overall pick and selected James Worthy from North Carolina. The Lakers won the Pacific Division at 58–24, but Worthy suffered a leg injury in the last week of the season and missed the rest of the season however. Nevertheless, they advanced to play Philadelphia in the 1983 NBA Finals by defeating Portland and San Antonio in the first two rounds. The Sixers, however, won the series and the championship in four games. After the season West replaced Sharman as the team's GM.

In the 1983–84 season Los Angeles went 54–28, and played Boston in the Finals for the first time since 1969. They won two of the first three games. Kevin McHale's hard clothesline foul of Lakers forward Kurt Rambis on a fast break is credited as a turning point of the series. Boston won three of the next four to win the title and send Los Angeles's record to 0–8 in Finals series against the Celtics.

Using the past year's Finals defeat as motivation, the team won the Pacific Division for the fourth straight year and lost just twice in the Western Conference playoffs. In the NBA Finals, the Celtics were again the Lakers' final hurdle. Los Angeles lost game one of the NBA Finals by a score of 148–114, in what is remembered as the "Memorial Day Massacre". The Lakers, behind 38-year old Finals MVP Abdul-Jabbar, recovered to defeat the Celtics in six games. The team won the title in the Boston Garden, becoming the only visiting team to ever win an NBA championship there.

In the 1985–86 season, the Lakers started 24–3. They won 62 games, and their fifth straight division title. The Rockets, however, defeated the Lakers in five games in the Western Conference Finals. Houston won the series when Ralph Sampson hit a 20-foot jumper as time expired in game five at The Forum. Prior to the 1986–87 season, the Lakers moved A. C. Green into the starting lineup, and acquired Mychal Thompson from the Spurs. Johnson won his first career MVP Award while leading the Lakers to a 65–17 record, and Michael Cooper was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Before the season Riley had made the decision to shift the focus of the offense to Johnson over the aging Abdul-Jabbar.

The Lakers advanced to the NBA Finals by sweeping the Nuggets, defeating the Warriors in five games, and sweeping the SuperSonics in the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers defeated Boston in the first two games of the Finals, and the teams split the next four games, giving Los Angeles their second championship in three seasons. The series was highlighted by Johnson's running "baby hook" shot to win game four at Boston Garden with two seconds remaining. Johnson was named the NBA Finals MVP, in addition to regular-season MVP. At the Lakers' championship celebration in Los Angeles, coach Riley brashly declared that Los Angeles would repeat as NBA champions. During the 1987–88 season, the Lakers took their seventh consecutive Pacific Division title, and met the Detroit Pistons in the 1988 NBA Finals. Los Angeles took the series in seven games, and James Worthy's game seven triple double earned him a Finals MVP award. In the 1988–89 season, Los Angeles won 57 games. They swept the playoffs up till the NBA Finals, and faced the Detroit Pistons again. The Lakers, hampered by injuries to Byron Scott and Johnson, were swept by Detroit.

On June 28, 1989, after 20 professional seasons, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar announced his retirement. A year later, 1987 Defensive Player of the Year winner Michael Cooper decided to play in Europe and was waived at his request. The Lakers went 63–19 in the 1989–90 season, but lost 4–1 in the second round of the playoffs. Riley left the team after the season citing burnout,and was replaced by Mike Dunleavy. Riley's departure received a mixed reaction from the players. They respected his contributions, but some, such as Worthy and Scott, had grown tired of his intense practices and felt he tried to take too much credit for the team's successes.

The team made another Finals appearance in 1991, but lost in five games to a Chicago Bulls team led by Michael Jordan. On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson announced he had tested positive for HIV and would retire immediately. In their first season without Johnson, the team won 43 games, but became the first eighth seed to win the opening two games on the road against a number one seed when they took a 2–0 lead versus Phoenix.They lost the next two games at home however, then game five in Phoenix in overtime. Randy Pfund was let go as head coach in March 1994 and eventually replaced by Johnson, who coached the club with former teammate Michael Cooper as his lead assistant.Johnson decided not to take the job permanently due to what he felt was a lack of commitment from certain players, and Los Angeles ended the season with a 10 game losing streak to finish 33–49 and out of the playoffs.

The next two seasons, Los Angeles made the playoffs, but was eliminated in the second and first rounds respectively. The team was coached by Del Harris and led by young guards Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones. Johnson came out of retirement in the 1995–96 season to lead the then 24–18 Lakers to a 29–11 finish. After some run-ins with Van Exel, displeasure with Harris's strategies, and a first round loss to the Rockets, Johnson decided to retire for the final time after the season.

During the 1996 off-season, the Lakers acquired 17-year-old Kobe Bryant from the Charlotte Hornets for Vlade Divac; Bryant was drafted 13th overall out of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania in that years draft, by Charlotte. Los Angeles also signed free-agent Shaquille O'Neal. Trading for Bryant was West's idea, and he was influential in the team's signing of the all-star center. "Jerry West is the reason I came to the Lakers," O'Neal later said. They used their 24th pick in the draft to select Derek Fisher. During the season, the team traded Cedric Ceballos to Phoenix for Robert Horry. O'Neal led the team to a 56–26 record, their best effort since 1990–91, despite missing 31 games due to a knee injury. O'Neal averaged 26.2 ppg and 12.5 rpg and finished third in the league in blocked shots (2.88 bpg) in 51 games. The Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 1997 NBA Playoffs. O'Neal scored 46 points in Game 1 against the Trail Blazers, marking the highest single-game playoff scoring output by a Laker since Jerry West scored 53 against the Celtics in 1969. In the next round, the Lakers lost four games to one to the Utah Jazz.

In the 1997–98 season, O'Neal and the Lakers had the best start in franchise history, 11–0. O'Neal missed 20 games due to an abdominal injury. Los Angeles battled Seattle for the Pacific Division title most of the season. In the final two months, the Lakers won 22 of their final 25 games, finishing 61–21, and second to Seattle in the standings. The Lakers defeated Portland three games to one in the first-round. The following round, they faced Seattle. Although the Sonics won the first game, the Lakers responded with four straight wins, taking the series, but were swept by the Jazz in the next round.

During the 1998–99 season, All-Star guard Eddie Jones and center Elden Campbell were traded to the Charlotte Hornets. The team also acquired J. R. Reid, B. J. Armstrong, and Glen Rice. Harris was fired in February after a three game losing streak and replaced on an interim basis by former Laker Kurt Rambis.The team finished 31–19 in the shortened season, which was fourth in the Western Conference. Los Angeles defeated Houston in the first round of the playoffs, but were swept by San Antonio in the next round with game 4 being the last game ever played at the Great Western Forum.

Before the 1999–2000 season, West was prepared to hire Rambis as the team's full-time coach before an outcry from fans and members of the organization caused him to seek out a bigger name. Los Angeles hired former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson, who had coached that team to six championships, and gave him a lucrative $6 million a year contract. He brought along assistant Tex Winter and they installed Winter's version of the triangle offense. They signed veterans Brian Shaw, John Salley, Ron Harper, and A. C. Green, who was a Laker during the "Showtime" era. The team also moved to a new arena, the Staples Center. After the season, starters Rice and Green left the team, and Los Angeles signed Horace Grant.

Led by league MVP O'Neal, the Lakers won 31 of their first 36 games. Los Angeles finished 67–15, their highest total since they won 65 in the 1986–87 season. They eliminated the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix in the first two rounds of the playoffs. After the Lakers took a three games to one lead in the Western Conference Finals, the Trail Blazers won the next two games to force a game seven. The Lakers were down by 15 points in the fourth quarter but went on a 19–4 run to tie the game. They won 89–84 to advance to the NBA Finals. They defeated Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers 4–2 in the 2000 NBA Finals to win their first title since 1988. West retired from his spot in the team's front office after the season after a power struggle between him and Jackson over control of the team's operations.

The following season, Los Angeles won 11 fewer regular season games, but swept the first three rounds of the playoffs, defeating the Portland, Sacramento, and San Antonio. They met Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2001 NBA Finals. Although the Sixers took game one in overtime,the Lakers won the next four games to win their second straight title. Their 15–1 postseason record is the best in NBA history.

Los Angeles won 58 games in 2001–02 but Sacramento won the Pacific Division. In the playoffs, they swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, and defeated the Spurs 4–1 in the second. They faced the Kings in the Western Conference Finals. The series went seven games, and the last ended in a six-point Laker victory in overtime. The Lakers then achieved a three-peat by sweeping the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals. O'Neal won each of the Finals series' MVP awards, making him the only player besides Michael Jordan to win three consecutive Finals MVPs.

The Lakers started the 2002–03 season 11–19. They went 39–13 the rest of the way to finish 50–32. They defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2003 NBA Playoffs, but were eliminated by San Antonio in six games in the second. During the 2003–04 season, the team was the subject of intense media coverage generated by the teaming of four stars and the sexual-assault case involving Kobe Bryant. Before the season, Los Angeles signed two-time MVP Karl Malone formerly of the Jazz, and former Seattle Defensive Player of the Year Gary Payton. Three of the "big four", however, struggled with injuries: O'Neal suffered from a strained calf, Malone an injured knee, and Bryant an injured shoulder. The Lakers started 18–3 and finished 56–26. They won the Pacific Division title, and entered the playoffs as the number two seed. They defeated the Rockets, Spurs, and Timberwolves in the first three rounds of the 2004 NBA Playoffs, before succumbing to Detroit in five games in the 2004 NBA Finals. During the 2004 offseason, the team entered a rebuilding phase when O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, Caron Butler, and a first-round draft pick. Bryant and O'Neal had clashed in the past, and the media credited their feud as one of the motivating factors for the trade. Jackson did not return as head coach, and wrote a book about the team's 2003–04 season, in which he heavily criticized Bryant and called him "uncoachable". The Lakers front office said that the book contained "several inaccuracies".

The Lakers traded Rick Fox and Gary Payton to Boston, for Chris Mihm, Marcus Banks, and Chucky Atkins before the 2004–05 season. Derek Fisher, frustrated with losing playing time, opted out of his contract and signed with the Warriors. The team hired Rudy Tomjanovich to replace Jackson. After sitting out the first half of the 2004–05 season, Malone announced his retirement on February 13, 2005. Tomjanovich coached the team to a 22–19 record before resigning due to health problems. Assistant Frank Hamblen was named interim head coach to replace Tomjanovich for the remainder of the season. Bryant (ankle) and Odom (shoulder) suffered injuries, and the Lakers finished 34–48, missing the playoffs for the fifth time in franchise history.

With the tenth overall pick in the draft, Los Angeles selected Andrew Bynum, a center from St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey. The team also traded Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins to the Washington Wizards for Kwame Brown and Laron Profit. Jackson returned to coach the team after Rudy Tomjanovich resigned midway through the previous season. On January 22, 2006, Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second-highest total in NBA history. Ending the season 45–37, the team made the playoffs after a one season absence. After taking a three games to one lead in the first round, the Suns came back to take the series in seven games. In the following season, they won 26 of their first 39 games, but lost 27 of their last 43—including seven in a row at one point—to finish 42–40. They were eliminated in the first round by the Suns again, this time 4–1.Frustrated by the team's inability to advance in the playoffs, Bryant demanded to be traded in the offseason. Buss initially agreed to seek a trade, but also worked to try to change Bryant's mind.

After re-acquiring Derek Fisher, Los Angeles started the 2007–08 season with a 25–11 record, before Andrew Bynum, their center who was leading the league in field-goal percentage, went out for the year due to a knee injury in mid-January. They acquired power forward Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in a trade in early February and went 22–5 to finish the season. The Lakers' 57–25 record earned them the first seed in the Western Conference. Bryant was awarded the league's MVP award, becoming the first Laker to win the award since O'Neal in 2000.[ In the playoffs, they defeated the Nuggets in four games, the Jazz in six, and the defending champion Spurs in five, but lost to the Celtics in six games in the NBA Finals.

In the 2008–09 season, the Lakers finished 65–17; the best record in the Western Conference. They defeated the Jazz in five games, the Rockets in seven and the Nuggets in six, to win the Western Conference title. They then won their fifteenth NBA championship by defeating the Orlando Magic in five games in the NBA finals. Bryant was named the NBA Finals MVP for the first time in his career.

The Lakers, who had added Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace  in place of Trevor Ariza in their starting lineup, finished the 2009–10 season with the best record in the Western Conference for the third straight time. On January 13, 2010, the Lakers became the first team in NBA history to win 3,000 regular season games by defeating the Dallas Mavericks 100–95. They defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Utah Jazz, and the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference playoffs. In the finals, the Lakers played the Boston Celtics for the 12th time. They rallied back from a 3–2 disadvantage in the series and erased a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter of the seventh game to defeat the Celtics. This series win gave them their 16th NBA title overall and 11th since they moved to Los Angeles. Bryant was named Finals MVP for the second year in a row, despite a 6–24 shooting performance in game seven.

After much speculation, head coach Phil Jackson returned for the 2010–11 season. In the playoffs, the Lakers defeated the New Orleans Hornets in the first round. But their opportunity for a three-peat was denied by the Dallas Mavericks in a four-game sweep of the second round. After the season, it was announced that Jackson will not be returning to coach the Lakers.

2011–present: Post-Jackson era

After Jackson's retirement, former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown was hired as head coach on May 25, 2011.

Before the start of the 2011-2012 Season, the Lakers traded Lamar Odom to Dallas, signed Josh McRoberts, Jason Kapono and Troy Murphy. The Lakers also drafted Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Chukwudiebere Maduabum, and Ater Majok, but traded Chukwudiebere Maduabum to the Denver Nuggets for a future second round pick. During the NBA lockout Ater Majok played for BK SPU Nitra in Slovakia.

On the trade deadline Derek Fisher and a first round draft pick were traded to the Houston Rockets for Jordan Hill. Also, Luke Walton, Jason Kapono and a first round draft pick were traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga.

The Lakers entered the playoffs as 3rd seed and defeated the Denver Nuggets in the first round in 7 games after almost blowing a 3-1 series lead. The Lakers 2011-2012 season ended after losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 5 games.

On July 4, 2012, Steve Nash agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that would send him to the Lakers in exchange for the Laker's 2013 and 2015 first round draft picks, 2013 and 2014 second round draft picks, and $3 million dollars. The trade will not be in effect until July 11, 2012
2013 Regular Season Schedule
Tue, Oct 300-1Gasol 23Gasol 13Gasol 6
Wed, Oct 310-2Howard 33Howard 14Lillard 11
Fri, Nov 20-3Bryant 40Gasol 14Paul 15
Sun, Nov 41-3Howard 28Bryant 7Bryant 8
Wed, Nov 71-4Bryant 29Hill 12Williams 7
Fri, Nov 92-4Bryant 27Gasol 16Bryant 7
Sun, Nov 113-4Howard 23Howard 18Bryant 6
Tue, Nov 133-5Bryant 28Howard 15Bryant 8
Fri, Nov 164-5Bryant 31Howard 12Beasley 9
Sun, Nov 185-5Howard 28Howard 13Bryant 11
Tue, Nov 206-5Bryant 25Howard 15Williams 10
Wed, Nov 216-6Bryant 38Thompson 10Evans 6
Fri, Nov 236-7Bryant 30Randolph 12Gasol 8
Sat, Nov 247-7World Peace 19Jamison 15Beaubois 6
Tue, Nov 277-8Bryant 40World Peace 12West 8
Fri, Nov 308-8Jamison 33Howard 20Bryant 8
Sun, Dec 28-9Bryant 34Howard 15Nelson 13
Tue, Dec 48-10Bryant 39Howard 12Duhon 7
Wed, Dec 59-10Anderson 31Aminu 10Duhon 10
Fri, Dec 79-11Durant 36Howard 18Westbrook 8
Sun, Dec 99:30 PM  732 Available
Tue, Dec 117:00 PM  1 Available
Thu, Dec 138:00 PMTNT 3,282 Available
Fri, Dec 147:00 PM  1,617 Available
Sun, Dec 166:00 PM  4,099 Available
Tue, Dec 1810:30 PM  1,383 Available
Sat, Dec 2210:30 PM  2,039 Available
Tue, Dec 253:00 PMABC 2,077 Available
Wed, Dec 269:00 PM  1,751 Available
Fri, Dec 2810:30 PM  1,047 Available
Tue, Jan 110:30 PM  1,910 Available
Fri, Jan 410:30 PMESPN 2,223 Available
Sun, Jan 69:30 PM  1,662 Available
Tue, Jan 88:00 PM  2,024 Available
Wed, Jan 98:00 PMESPN 2,792 Available
Fri, Jan 1110:30 PMESPN 1,952 Available
Sun, Jan 139:30 PM  2,146 Available
Tue, Jan 1510:30 PM  2,425 Available
Thu, Jan 1710:30 PMTNT 2,187 Available
Sun, Jan 201:00 PM  1,170 Available
Mon, Jan 219:30 PMTNT 2,945 Available
Wed, Jan 238:00 PM  1,158 Available
Fri, Jan 2510:30 PM  2,098 Available
Sun, Jan 273:30 PMABC 1,981 Available
Tue, Jan 2910:30 PM  2,587 Available
Wed, Jan 3010:30 PMESPN 1,495 Available
Fri, Feb 19:30 PMESPN 1,768 Available
Sun, Feb 31:00 PM  1,621 Available
Tue, Feb 57:30 PM  4,627 Available
Thu, Feb 78:00 PMTNT 4,175 Available
Fri, Feb 87:00 PM  3,201 Available
Sun, Feb 103:30 PMABC 2,069 Available
Tue, Feb 1210:30 PM  2,425 Available
Thu, Feb 1410:30 PMTNT 2,307 Available
Wed, Feb 2010:30 PMESPN 2,421 Available
Fri, Feb 2210:30 PM  2,478 Available
Sun, Feb 241:00 PMABC 2,800 Available
Mon, Feb 259:00 PM  2,103 Available
Thu, Feb 2810:30 PMTNT 2,568 Available
Sun, Mar 39:30 PM  2,379 Available
Tue, Mar 59:30 PMTNT 946 Available
Wed, Mar 68:00 PM  2,269 Available
Fri, Mar 810:30 PM  2,722 Available
Sun, Mar 103:30 PMABC 1,575 Available
Tue, Mar 127:00 PM  4,051 Available
Wed, Mar 137:30 PM  1,345 Available
Fri, Mar 157:00 PM  1,370 Available
Sun, Mar 179:30 PM  2,483 Available
Mon, Mar 1810:00 PM  1,777 Available
Fri, Mar 2210:30 PM  2,649 Available
Mon, Mar 2510:30 PMNBATV 2,766 Available
Wed, Mar 278:00 PM  2,360 Available
Thu, Mar 288:00 PM  1,335 Available
Sat, Mar 3010:00 PM  993 Available
Tue, Apr 210:30 PMTNT 2,272 Available
Fri, Apr 510:30 PMESPN 2,395 Available
Sun, Apr 73:30 PMABC 3,707 Available
Tue, Apr 910:30 PM  2,607 Available
Wed, Apr 1010:00 PM  2,245 Available
Fri, Apr 1210:30 PM  2,673 Available
Sun, Apr 149:30 PMNBATV 2,488 Available
Wed, Apr 1710:30 PM  2,645 Available

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