5. Trading Shaquille O’Neal: June, 2004:
Following the tumultuous 2003-04 season, the Lakers had to make a decision whether to keep Shaq or Kobe in a Lakers’ uniform. It was apparent they weren’t going to be able to keep both, given the duo’s intense rivalry. Kupchak and the Lakers made the decision to trade Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat. In return, the Lakers received Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, Caron Butler, a 2006 first round draft pick (which turned into Jordan Farmar, who helped the team win two championships) and a second round pick in the 2007 draft.
At first glance, the trade didn’t seem to bode well for the Lakers. Butler and Grant only played one season for the Lakers, the team was largely mediocre for the first three seasons after trading Shaq, and Kobe Bryant was not a happy camper, demanding to be traded after the 2006-07 season.
But in hindsight, the team made the right move in keeping Kobe. Since the trade Kobe has helped the Lakers win two championships, compared to just one for Shaq,who captured one with the Miami Heat in 2006. Also, Lamar Odom ended up being the team’s “X-Factor” off the bench during the team’s championship years in 2009 and 2010.
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