Record: 34-48, fifth place in Pacific Division
Two big changes before the season: Phil Jackson retired as coach (succeeded by Rudy Tomjanovich) and the Lakers traded Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami Heat. Many thought the trade was orchestrated by Kobe Bryant, who was disgruntled with the work ethic of the Lakers center. The Lakers acquired Caron Butler, Brian Grant, Lamar Odom, a 2006 first-round draft pick (Jordan Farmar) and a 2007 second-round pick (Renaldas Seibutis).
The retooled Lakers struggled during the season, winning only 15 of their first 27 games before Tomjanovich resigned as coach because of health reasons. The wheels came off soon after, with Frank Hamblen taking over as coach on an interim basis, and the team missed the playoffs for the first time since the 1993-94 season.
Playoffs: The Lakers did not qualify for the playoffs.