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The Best Trade In Lakers History: That Time The Defending Champions Won A Coin Flip To Draft James Worthy

The Best Trade In Lakers History- That Time The Defending Champions Won A Coin Flip To Draft James Worthy

The Los Angeles Lakers are just one of those teams that is always relevant.

With 17 Championships and countless Hall-of-Famers having passed through their gates, the Lakers are a franchise of glamour and luxury.

And while there are many times they've found great luck and fortune, one of their most ridiculous victories came during the 1982 draft, the summer following the acquisition of one of L.A.'s many titles.

You see, thanks to a mid-season trade made years earlier, the Lakers were able to land a first-round draft pick from the Cavs in the 1982 draft. Since the Cavaliers would boast the NBA's worst record that same year, the Lakers took their place in a coin flip against the Clippers to determine the first pick, which they won.

That pick would be used to pick up perennial NBA superstar, James Worthy.

(via Fansided)

During the 1979-80 season, the Los Angeles Lakers traded serviceable depth player Don Ford and the 22nd pick in the draft to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a future first-round pick, in the 1982 NBA Draft, and another serviceable role player, Butch Lee.

And with the pick, the Lakers selected James Worthy, who went on to be an integral part of the Showtime Lakers and eventually be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Perhaps the best part of it is the fact that all the Purple and Gold really had to give up was Don Ford, who was a complete non-contributor at the time.

The Cavs, of course, would go on to drop the ball until the arrival of LeBron James over two decades later.

The Cavaliers were a middle-of-the-road team that floated around .500 that was looking to make moves to put them over the edge. At the time, it was not expected that the 1982 pick would have significant value, but it did.

The Cavaliers were the worst team in the league during the 1981-82 season and to this day it is still tied for the worst season in franchise history. The team did not get a chance to at least get something for it, though, as the Lakers owned their first-round pick and won the coin toss against the San Diego Clippers to have the first overall pick.

Somehow, the Lakers traded a fringe bench player for a guy who would become a 3x Champion and, objectively, one of the NBA's All-Time great players.

Looking back, it's not an exaggeration to call the trade a case of highway robbery.