This season’s edition of the NBA Trade Deadline was the busiest in the history of the league. There were 12 trades that saw 39 players moved on Thursday and even the closest of NBA insiders were left with their heads spinning at the extreme amount of movement at the last minute.
The Los Angeles Lakers, however, were not a part of any of those deals and will now go down the home stretch of the season with the same roster, for better or worse. Whether or not that is a good thing remains to be seen.
The roster as currently constructed is pretty bad, but the Lakers only keep their draft pick if it stays in the top-five. Making any major move for one of the players who was available could have resulted in the Lakers improving to the point that they lost their pick.
However, at some point the Lakers will need to get some more talent on the roster and this trade deadline could have represented an excellent chance to do so.
We asked our panel of experts if they believe the Lakers missed an opportunity by not making a move at the trade deadline. This is what they had to say:
Russell Valenzuela (@RussVal4): The Los Angeles Lakers did just fine by standing pat at the Trade Deadline. Rebuilding has been the Lakers’ clear path with the team unwilling to give up their valued draft picks.
Despite being linked to Goran Dragic, the team couldn’t put together a package that would’ve brought the point guard to Los Angeles. After seeing what Miami gave up to get him, the Lakers just didn’t have the right pieces to acquire Dragic. With most of the Lakers being players who wouldn’t play key roles on other teams, there wasn’t much the team could offer.
However, the team could’ve gone another path and moved some piece around to get more draft picks. Jordan Hill was named as a Laker that was likely to be moved at the deadline as other teams value his rebounding ability and overall hustle.
Instead of shipping him away, the Lakers can now spend the back-end of the year seeing if they want to bring Hill back next season with a team option. Hill is still a good enough to be a part of future plans but is going to need to play better to justify his $9 million salary.
Kevin Chan (@Kevin_Cruiser): I think the Lakers were smart to be picky about any potential trades and ultimately decided to stand pat. I’m glad they didn’t trade away any of their young players or first round picks for a one-year lease on Goran Dragic. They learned their lesson from the Dwight Howard gamble. The Lakers highly value their first round pick and their budding young players like Jordan Clarkson.
It’s clear now that the Lakers strategy is to let the season play out with the current roster which will likely result in a bottom five finish. This will give them a great chance of keeping their top five protected first round pick.
In addition to rebuilding through young players like Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and a TBD 2015 first-round pick, they’ll also have the cap flexibility this summer to pursue max-level free agents. The Lakers are primed for a full-on rebuild so sit tight and enjoy the process.
Nathan Kim (@Kimchiz): The league went through a day full of trades that had everyone surprised. Unfortunately no trades were made by the Lakers. Still, I don’t think the Lakers missed an opportunity.
The only pieces that the Lakers could have reasonably dealt were probably Ed Davis and Jordan Hill. There were reports that the Phoenix Suns were interested in trading Goran Dragic or Isaiah Thomas but I am glad that the Lakers were able to hold their ground and retain their young talent as well as their first-round draft pick.
I think the Lakers are looking towards the summer to make trades. There are more opportunities during the summer to sign a star free agent, or engage in trade talks with other teams. I believe the Lakers have acknowledged that this season is over and I think that the urgency of this trade deadline was not really there for the Lakers.
They are looking toward next season, when they can have a completely changed roster and compete at a higher level. They can still make blockbuster moves during the summer. Hopefully, their patience will be rewarded during the off-season.
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): The Los Angeles Lakers have been very smart about not making moves just for the sake of making them. Sacrificing the couple of young building blocks they have would have been wrong. I do wonder if the team did miss an opportunity to add a draft pick or tryout a young player.
Last season the Lakers were able to trade away veteran Steve Blake and got a couple of young players in return in Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks. Bazemore showed himself to be a capable rotation player and though the Lakers were unable to re-sign him, it was a good move especially with the season already gone.
This year the Lakers could have done the same thing with either Jordan Hill or Jeremy Lin or even better, added another draft pick. The Lakers already have their own top-five pick, the Houston Rockets’ first-round pick, their own early second-round pick, and possibly the Los Angeles Clippers’ second-round pick. Adding more picks would give the Lakers plenty of assets to make a move in the summer.
At the end of the day, the Lakers didn’t have enough to make a trade for the big names who were moved at the trade deadline, but they may have missed an opportunity to gather some assets so they could make a big move in the future.[divide]