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Los Angeles Lakers’ history of controversy: 10 most dramatic moments in recent memory

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The Los Angeles Lakers' latest saga in the wake of Mike Brown's dismissal as head coach and the subsequent hiring of Mike D'Antoni shed light on something NBA fans in Los Angeles have grown accustomed to -- the Lakers don't function without dysfunction.

There have been too many instances of notable theatrics in Laker-land to list all of them, but for those scoring at home, here are the top 10 most dramatic moments in recent Lakers' history:

10. The departure of Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom won two titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010 and collected a Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2011. He was the cornerstone of the second unit and made the Lakers extremely versatile with his dynamic skill set. Once he departed, the bench essentially fell apart and has since been among the worst in the NBA.

After the failed trade that would have landed superstar Chris Paul and sent Odom packing, the 6-foot-10 big man who could play any position on the floor became disengaged and asked to be traded. The Lakers obliged, but got virtually nothing in return and lost a key player in the process.

9. Mike Brown's hiring

After Phil Jackson left the team in 2011, the Lakers decided to separate themselves from the triangle offense and his coaching staff. They made wholesale changes in their play style and personnel as a result, largely at the direction of Jim Buss, son of owner Dr. Jerry Buss, who had assumed control of the basketball side of the organization.

Brian Shaw, the players' clear-cut favorite to take over after Jackson's retirement, was overlooked as his successor. What's worse is that Shaw had to find out by watching ESPN that he didn't get the job.

8. The blocked Chris Paul trade

After a premature playoff exit in the 2010-11 season, the Lakers needed help, and general manager Mitch Kupchak was prepared to pull off more of his front office magic in order to send Odom to the New Orleans Hornets and Pau Gasol to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Paul.

The Hornets, owned by the NBA at the time, blocked the trade and sent L.A. reeling. They would trade a subsequently-disgruntled Odom and lose all the continuity they'd built up as they chased another ring.

Also of note was this was the beginning of the end for the much-maligned bench, which has been near the bottom of the league in scoring ever since losing Odom.

Did the "basketball reasons" the league cited really make sense, or does the NBA have it out for the elite franchise that has 16 banners hanging from its rafters? The conspiracy theories that evolved from this debacle are fitting for a typical L.A. story.

7. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is disrespected

Hall-of-fame center and Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was not treated well by the Lakers following his playing days, and he alleged that he was flat out disrespected as a special assistant with the team as he worked to help develop a young Andrew Bynum.

According to the NBA's all-time leading scorer, the Lakers were not transparent with him and did not communicate. The mistreatment of a legend resulted in a lot of bad publicity for the team.

Fortunately, the two sides have since patched things up as the Lakers' most famous captain will be immortalized in a ceremony at Staples Center on November 16, 2012.

6. Andrew Bynum's farewell tour

Andrew Bynum had maturity issues throughout his tenure with the Lakers, and for good reason. He was only 17 years old when he played his first game in Los Angeles. But his last season before a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers sent him to the East Coast was an eventful year.

He admitted on more than one occasion to failing to give maximum effort, shot an ill-advised 3-pointer, and displayed an aversion to participating in team huddles during timeouts. Even Buss, who backed Bynum through thick and thin, was willing to part ways with him in favor of Dwight Howard following those antics.

5. Bryant asks to be traded, then doubles back

Following Shaquille O'Neal's departure in 2004, the Lakers had some difficult years in the Smush Parker-Kwame Brown era. It all nearly came to an end when Bryant told Stephen A. Smith in a May 2007 interview that he wanted to be traded due to the team's inability to surround him with sufficient talent.

Obviously, the trade involving Bryant never happened, and the Lakers made a move for Pau Gasol the following year. The Spaniard proved to be a savior, and helped Bryant and the Lakers win two more titles in 2009 and 2010.

4. Phil Jackson bashes Kobe in his book

Following his departure after his first stint with the Lakers, Jackson wrote a tell-all book that ripped Bryant for being childish, selfish and belligerent. Bryant brushed off the implications when pressed by the media, and it apparently wasn't bad enough to prevent the two working together to win their last two titles together or to discourage Bryant from all but endorsing Jackson following Brown's firing.

3. Kobe Bryant sexual assault case

Bryant went through a tumultuous season in 2003-04 that was marred by a sexual assault allegation stemming from an affair he had while rehabbing an injury in Colorado. The allegations were serious, and so was the toll it took on Bryant throughout the season. So much so, that basketball was his only escape.

He would spend the better part of the season flying back and forth between games and court appearances. The case was eventually dropped and Bryant avoided any conviction and later would settle the case.

The most dramatic thing about the ordeal is that Bryant maintained his high level of play despite the heavy circumstances.

2. Mike D'Antoni hired over Phil Jackson

If you're buying what the Lakers are selling, then they actually wanted to hire Mike D'Antoni over Jackson. If you're as skeptical as the L.A. fan base, then you're wondering how that's possible given the Lakes' commitment to winning titles.

A quick review: The Lakers fired their second year head coach for a dismal 1-4 start, cited a commitment to winning titles as being among the reason, teased the fans and basketball world with notions of hiring the winningest coach ever and then decided not to hire him.

To call this scenario dramatic doesn't do it justice, but it's almost not surprising for it to be any other way considering the organization in question.

Did Phil demand too much as was initially reported, or did the Lakers stick it to Jackson by bringing him along for the ride for no apparent reason? The two sides have very different takes, and the whole truth will probably never come out.

It's all fit for Hollywood, and it's the status quo with the Lakers.

1. Shaq vs. Kobe

Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant were at odds from the start, and it's one of the most well-documented spats in sports history. Though the feud came to a climax after Shaq left the team in 2004, their rivalry was ongoing during their time as teammates from 1996 to 2004.

During their title runs in 2000, 2001 and 2002, there were several tense moments between the two superstars that included everything from bickering about whose team it was to criticism about one another's deficiencies as players. Kobe went on the record saying how it was disappointing that O'Neal was out of shape, while O'Neal went as far as physically pointing at Bryant when a reporter asked what the problem with the Lakers' offense was.

O'Neal went on to win one more title with the Miami Heat in 2006, and Bryant won two more in a Lakers uniform following their split.

But the most tragic part of the fallout is the thought of what could have been had the two been able to play together for the rest of O'Neal's career. It's a sad story of egos and pride killing what could have been the most prolific pairing of stars in NBA history.

Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He is also the editor of Sports Out West.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets

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