Considered one of the best small forwards in NBA history, Dantley played parts of two seasons in Los Angeles, treating fans to the skills that would eventually make him a six-time All-Star and a future basketball Hall of Fame inductee. The former Notre Dame star was traded by Indiana along with Dave Robisch to the Lakers in exchange for James Edwards, Earl Tatumand cash in January 1977.
A first-team all-NBA rookie team selection the previous year, Dantley made an immediate impact, averaging 19.4 points per game to finish second in team scoring behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Dantley was limited to 60 games because of injury during the 1978-79 season, allowing rising star Jamaal Wilkes to see more playing time and showcase his talents.
There was no need for two starting small forwards on the same team and, following a disappointing season, Dantley was traded to Utah for Spencer Haywood in a lopsided deal before the start of the team’s championship 1979-80 season. Dantley went on to lead the NBA in scoring twice with the Jazz before retiring in 1991. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
April 26, 2011