The Lakers had a rough time of it in the early 2000s, with five consecutive losing seasons and no playoffs appearances. However, they found their way back to prominence and have been winning ever since.

The los angeles lakers are a professional basketball team that plays in the NBA. Five former Lakers have found their way back to Los Angeles.

They all departed the Lakers. After that, all five of them returned to Los Angeles. One of them has returned for a second visit. It took a decade for one to return. Three of them had won the franchise championship. In L.A., they all had unfinished business. Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations and general manager, took the phrase “once a Laker, always a Laker” to heart this summer, bolstering his roster with mostly Lakers veterans to complement his rebuilt Big Three.

With all five players committed to veteran minimum contracts, a fair evaluation of the returnees would be “you get what you paid for.” However, the performance of these role players in the playoffs may be just as important to the Lakers’ title prospects as that of the players with max salaries.

The purple and gold’s wayward sons are listed below.


Center Dwight Howard has returned to the Los Angeles Lakers for his third season. Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

– Lakers tenure: 2012-13, 2019-20

– In 145 games with the Lakers, he averaged 12.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks.

What went wrong the first (and second) time?

Howard’s second term with the club more than made up for his initial time with the team, which was uncomfortable. Howard, then 27 years old, was expected to be the next great center in the Lakers’ long line of famous big men when he was drafted in 2012. Despite the Lakers’ frantic billboard campaign to retain him, he left for Houston following a season of infighting with Kobe Bryant and then-head coach Mike D’Antoni, as well as medical difficulties resulting from back surgery and a damaged labrum in his shoulder. He returns in 2019 with a tighter skill set that suited well with Frank Vogel’s defense-first strategy after unimpressive stints in Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Washington. Is this his biggest achievement? In the 2020 Western Conference finals, neutralizing Denver’s Nikola Jokic with his physical play, adding to his already Hall of Fame-worthy résumé with his first NBA championship.

Why did Howard decide to leave?

No one knows for sure. Howard’s impatience may be the cause. It’s possible that the Lakers’ lack of communication is to blame. In 2019, Howard returned to the Lakers on a non-guaranteed contract, stating that he wanted to earn his spot on the roster. After he performed well in his job, both parties expressed a desire in working together again. However, either the Lakers were reluctant to make Howard a formal offer or Howard was lured away by Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers — or both — and he spent last season with the Sixers.

Why has Howard returned (again)?

“What was it that drew me back to the Lakers?” During his (re)introduction press conference last month, Howard repeated the question. “You know, love for the game, love for this city, love for the team, and simply the chance to win?” It’s that simple.

In 2021-22, the Lakers have high expectations for him.

Howard will once again serve as Davis’ bodyguard and provide a vital defensive presence. Last season, he and JaVale McGee were both missed in the Lakers’ big man rotation, which also included Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell.


After spending last season with the Atlanta Hawks and the Los Angeles Clippers, Rajon Rondo is back to the Lakers. Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

– Duration with the Lakers: 2018-20

– In 94 games with the Lakers, he averaged 8.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.1 assists.

What went wrong the first time?

Rondo joined LeBron James in Los Angeles in 2018, and after missing the playoffs, they teamed up as the Lakers’ main playmakers on their route to the title in the Orlando bubble. While his first season was plagued by injuries, including breaking his right thumb during practice after the league reopened in the summer of 2020, he was a superstar on the Lakers’ way to the championship, averaging 8.9 points and 6.6 assists while shooting 40% from three-point range.

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What was Rondo’s reason for leaving?

He was compensated. The Atlanta Hawks gave him a two-year, $15 million contract after he won the title to give experienced leadership to a squad that desperately needed it. Los Angeles, which was already above the salary limit, utilized its mid-level exception to sign Harrell, and could only give Rondo a veteran minimum contract if he wanted to remain.

Why has Rondo returned?

“We didn’t get our parade,” Rondo remarked after clearing waivers and rejoining the club in his first media appearance. “Obviously, I want a parade in Los Angeles.” The 2020 NBA champions did not got to enjoy the customary pomp and ceremony that comes with winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy because to the COVID-19 epidemic. Because of his expertise and previous connections, the Lakers kept an eye on informal sessions with other free-agent point guards this summer, and Rondo eventually landed a deal after negotiating a buyout with Memphis.

In 2021-22, the Lakers have high expectations for him.

When James and Russell Westbrook aren’t on the field, Rondo will serve as a coach on the court and on the bench, sharing ballhandling duties with Kendrick Nunn and Talen Horton-Tucker.


Trevor Ariza’s last appearance with the Lakers was in 2009. David J. Phillip/AP Photo

– Lakers tenure: 2007-09.

– In 106 games with the Lakers, he averaged 8.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.

What went wrong the first time?

When Ariza initially joined the Lakers in 2007, he was only 22 years old. In his second season, he played all 82 games and then practically seized the Denver Nuggets’ momentum in the Western Conference finals with two game-winning swipes. Ariza and Bryant worked well together, providing the Lakers two strong wing defenders who could convert thefts and deflections into fast-break chances.

Why did Ariza decide to leave?

In the 2009 summer, the Lakers utilized their cap space to acquire Ron Artest, leading Ariza to accept a five-year, $33 million contract with the Houston Rockets, whom Artest had just left. Los Angeles went on to win the title again, and Ariza went on to play for the Rockets, Hornets, Wizards, Suns, Kings, Blazers, and Heat.

Why has Ariza returned?

“Russ was moved, and 20 minutes after he got traded, he was on my phone,” Ariza recalled of his former UCLA Bruins teammate’s recruiting efforts. Ariza has been on the Lakers’ radar in recent years on numerous occasions. This time, the enthusiasm was reciprocal.

In 2021-22, the Lakers have high expectations for him.

Shooting and defense, which are crucial for a squad that seems to be lacking in both, as well as backup minutes at small forward and shooting guard. The Lakers will have to monitor his workload now that he’s 36, but the 17-year veteran is coming off a season with the Heat in which he averaged 9.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and shot 35% from three in 28 minutes.


Kent Bazemore was a member of the Lakers for one season in 2013-14. Getty Images/Gary Dineen

– 2013-14 season with the Lakers

– In 23 games with the Lakers, he averaged 13.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists.

What went wrong the first time?

Bazemore, like new colleague Wayne Ellington, had a successful first stay in Los Angeles (he averaged 13.1 points, which is still a career high) but a bad first stint for the club (the Lakers went 27-55) as injuries decimated the squad.

What was the reason for Bazemore’s departure?

Despite his strong performance in his 23-game debut with the Lakers, the team gave up his rights to create salary space in order to pursue Carmelo Anthony, who eventually re-signed with the New York Knicks. Bazemore then signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Atlanta Hawks, which he then extended for four years and $70 million in 2016.

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Why has Bazemore returned?

Bazemore remarked, “The Lakers were very, very persistent.” “During the first several hours of free agency, I received a lot of calls from Mr. Pelinka and Coach Vogel. As a result, they brought an incredible amount of enthusiasm to the table. It felt like I had a position on that team where I could make a genuine impact.”

In 2021-22, the Lakers have high expectations for him.

Defense. Despite the fact that Bazemore is in his tenth NBA season, the 32-year-old is one of the team’s youngest players. He’ll be expected to repay the Lakers’ brass for their “great enthusiasm” in recruiting, making up for the ball-hawking presence on defense that was lost when Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope left.


In 2014-15, Wayne Ellington averaged 10.0 points per game with the Lakers. Getty Images/Andrew D. Bernstein

– 2014-15 season with the Lakers

– In 65 games with the Lakers, he averaged 10.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 37.0 3P%.

What went wrong the first time?

In 2014-15, Ellington had the unfortunate distinction of having a decent season while playing on a terrible Lakers team. He scored 10.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game while shooting 37 percent from 3-point range, but Los Angeles finished with a 21-61 record, the team’s lowest in franchise history.

What was the reason behind Ellington’s departure?

He signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets, becoming his sixth club in his seven years in the league.

Why has Ellington returned?

“[Pelinka] told me how he felt I could assist this squad and that he had attempted to recruit me in the past and failed,” Ellington added. “And to be honest, it didn’t take much since I had previously looked at the team and seen and felt that I could assist in a variety of ways.”

In 2021-22, the Lakers have high expectations for him.

It’s possible that he’ll be their starting shooting guard. Ellington, who has shot 38.2 percent from three-point range in his career, is a potential floor spacer who can keep defenders honest when James and Westbrook try to assault the interior.

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