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Los Angeles Lakers 2004-2005 Roster

L.A. Lakers pictures, history, records, championships, and data about Kobe Bryant and players like Magic Johnson

Lakers Transformation: It's time to Change
Kobe stays!!!

After losing the 2004 NBA Finals with four superstars on the roster, the Lakers decided to think about the future, and the future as owner Jerry Buss see it, is Kobe Bryant. He wants to rebuild the Lakers around Kobe even if it means losing Phil Jackson and Shaquille O'neal.

It might sound ridicule, but think about it: Shaq is 32, he is great but his best years are in the past. Kobe is 26 (yes, 26) and his best years, believe it or not, are in the future.

Below you can read about all the changes made. You can also see a synthesis here.

On this page:
They stay...
They left...
They arrived...
Draft picks...
Complete Roster...

They stay:

Kobe Bryant and Mitch Kupchak Kobe Bryant:
He tasted free agency and then decided to stay with the Lakers. He signed a 7-year contract worth $136.4 million. Now he will play in a new system, designed for him and won't have to share stardom with Shaq. Finally the Lakers will be his team.

Others:

Slava Medvedenko

free agent, signed a two-year contract.

Kurt Rambis Jackson's assistant coach last 3 seasons, former interim head coach and a member of four Laker championship teams as a player, occupied an executive role until Tomjanovich resigned. He then was moved back to the assistant position.

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They left:

Coach Phil Jackson:
His 5 year contract expired and he was asking 10 million a year. Laker owner Jerry Buss told him he would not be asked back as coach for the next season. Buss thought this was the best strategy to re-sign Bryant.

Shaquille O'NealShaquille O'Neal:
He asked to be traded because he wasn't happy with Jackson's departure and a Kobe oriented team. The Lakers agreed to trade Shaq to the Miami Heat. In exchange they received Odom, Butler, B. Grant and a future 1st-round draft pick. It looks like a bad deal for the Lakers, but it was the only one available. Also Shaq will be in the Eastern Conference, so the Lakers will have to face him (and his fury) only twice a year and eventually in the NBA Finals.
Shaq leaves the Lakers after 8 seasons as the franchise’s 6th leading scorer (13,895), 3rd best from the field (.575), 5th leading rebounder (6,090) and 2nd leading shot blocker (1,278). He was named NBA MVP once (2000), Finals MVP three times (2000, 2001, 2002), averaged 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.49 blocked shots and won 3 NBA Championships (2000, 2001, 2002)

Derek FisherDerek Fisher:
He played in the shadows of Kobe and Shaq for 8 seasons, won 3 championships and defeated San Antonio Spurs with his unforgettable shot with just 0.4 seconds to play. But he needed and deserved more playing time after being replaced by Gary Payton in the starting lineup last season. He agreed to a six-year, $37-million contract with the Golden State Warriors.

Rick Fox:
In the Lakers fixture for 7 years, he was one of the few remaining pieces of the team that won the 3 championships (a starter in two of them). He was included in the Celtics' trade: Fox and Payton for Atkins, Mihm and Jones. But he is fighting with injuries and decided to retire instead of returning to the team where his NBA career began. He had career averages of 9.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13 NBA seasons (930 games)

Gary Payton:
His first season with the Lakers was really bad, he thinks it was because of Phil Jackson's system so he opted to extend his contract through next year for $5.4 million, but the Lakers then decided to traded him to Boston. He is not happy about it but nobody is crying in L.A.

Karl Malone:
(Feb, 13) After saying he was going to stay with the Lakers, Malone retired after 19 NBA seasons. He went to the Finals three times but couldn't get a title. Two times season MVP, and 14 times selected for the All-Star game, he is considered as the best power forward in history and retires as the 2nd all-time scorer in the NBA with 36,928 points, just 1,459 behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record of 38,387

Others:

Jamal Sampson

was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in their expansion draft.

Horace Grant retired
Bryon Russell went to Denver
Kareem Rush with the season already started, Rush was traded to Charlotte for two future 2nd-round picks (2005 and 2008) to save a salary slot for Malone if he decides to return.

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They arrived:

Lakers Coach Rudy TomjanovichCoach Rudy Tomjanovich:
He led the Houston Rockets to the 1994 and 1995 NBA championships and the 2000 U.S. National basketball team to the Olympic gold medal. He likes to adapt his strategy to the players available. Kobe Bryant couldn't ask for something better.
Important Update: Tomjanovich resigned on Feb 3, because of health issues after 43 games (24-19 including 2 wins coached by Frank Hamblen). Hamblen will be the interim coach until the Lakers hire a new coach. The candidates are Phil Jackson (believe it or not), Larry Brown (Piston's coach) and Pat Riley (Heat's President). Frank Hamblen was Tomjanovich and Jackson's assistant.

Grant, Kobe, Butler OdomLamar Odom:
The ex-Clipper, a 6-10 forward that was the fourth overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, returns to town after having with the Heat the best season of his 5-year career. He averaged 17.1 points, a career-high 9.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 80 games for Miami last season. He is projected as the "Scottie Pippen" for Kobe.

Caron Butler:
A 6-7 forward that was the 10th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft and lead all first year players in scoring, steals and minutes that season. His scoring average dropped from 15.4 as a rookie to 9.2 last season but then he averaged 12.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.15 steals and 39.3 minutes in 13 games in the 2004 Playoffs.

Brian Grant:
The 10-year veteran is a 6-9 forward who is strong and knows how to play at center despite his height. He was the eighth overall selection in the 1994 NBA Draft and averaged 8.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 30.3 minutes in 76 games last season with Miami. He brings with him his .491 career field goal percentage and career averages of 11.4 points and 8.0 rebounds.

Vlade Divac:
The 36 year old center signed a two-year 10.3 million contract and returns to the Lakers after spending 2 seasons with the Hornets and 6 with the Kings. He is a cleaver passer and a natural leader that won't compete with Bryant.
Vlade spent his first seven NBA seasons in Los Angeles after being selected by the Lakers with the 26th pick in the 1989 draft with the clear mission to replace Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Now he has to fill the incredible big hole left by Shaq.
The highlight of his Laker career is that he was traded to the Charlotte Hornets for the rights to a 17-year-old high school kid from Philadelphia named Kobe Bryant.

Others:
In return for Payton and Fox, the Lakers received 3 players from the Celtics:

Chucky Atkins

He will be the starter at point guard

Chris Mihm

He will be a backup for Divac

Jumaine Jones The original trade included Marcus Banks, but he had to be returned because Payton didn't show up for his physical exam.
More:  
Tierre Brown free agent, played 58 games in 3 seasons with 3 NBA teams
Tony Bobbitt undrafted shooting guard from University of Cincinnati. Was included to replace Rush in the roster.

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Lakers Draft Picks:

Sasha VujacicLuke Walton and Brian Cook won't be rookies anymore. The Lakers drafted Slovenian point guard Sasha Vujacic and Providence power forward Marcus Douthit with the 27th and 56th picks in the 2004 draft.
The 20-year-old Vujacic played for Snaidero Udine in the Italian League for the past 3 seasons. He has good shooting and passing skills. Douthit played 4 seasons at Providence, averaging 7.8 pts, 5.9 reb., 2.2 ast as a senior. He was not signed by the Lakers.

This is the 2004/2005 Los Angeles Lakers roster

GUARDS:
NO. PLAYER POS HT WT YRS DOB more
18 Sasha Vujacic PG 6-7 193 R 3/8/84 buy jersey
9 Chucky Atkins PG 5-11 160 5 8/14/74 buy jersey
5 Tierre Brown PG 6-2 189 3 6/3/79 buy jersey
8 Kobe Bryant SG 6-6 220 8 8/23/78 buy jersey
15 Tony Bobbitt * SG 6-4 190 R 10/22/79 buy jersey
21 Kareem Rush ** SG 6-6 215 2 10/30/80 buy jersey
FORWARDS:
NO. PLAYER POS HT WT YRS DOB more
4 Luke Walton SF 6-8 235 1 3/28/80 buy jersey
1 Caron Butler SF 6-7 220 2 3/13/80 buy jersey
3 Devean George SF 6-8 240 5 8/29/77 buy jersey
20 Jumaine Jones SF 6-8 218 5 2/10/79 buy jersey
7 Lamar Odom SF 6-10 232 5 11/6/79 buy jersey
43 Brian Cook PF 6-9 234 1 12/4/80 buy jersey
14 Stanislav Medvedenko PF/C 6-10 255 4 4/4/79 buy jersey
55 Brian Grant PF/C 6-9 254 10 3/5/72 buy jersey
CENTERS:
NO. PLAYER POS HT WT YRS DOB more
31 Chris Mihm C 7-0 265 4 7/16/79 buy jersey
12 Vlade Divac C 7-1 260 15 2/3/68 buy jersey
* added to replace Rush   ** traded to Charlotte
PG: point guard, SG: shooting guard, SF: small forward, PF: power forward, C: center

Head Coach Frank Hamblen (Rudy Tomjanovich resigned after 43 games)
Assistant Coaches: Larry Smith
Mike Wells
Melvin Hunt
Chris Bodaken
* Kurt Rambis
* Brian Shaw
Athletic Trainer: Gary Vitti
* they were added to the coaching staff when Tomjanovich resigned and assistant Frank Hamblen assumed as the interim head coach.

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