It was clear early on during the 2022-23 season that the Los Angeles Lakers roster wasn’t working as they struggled out of the gates. Despite some encouraging showings and wins, the Lakers had several needs that needed to be addressed on the roster before they could seriously be considered as any sort of playoff contender.
Although it took longer than some might have hoped, Rob Pelinka managed to overhaul the roster at the trade deadline. Pelinka had kicked things off by acquiring Rui Hachimura, but on the day of the deadline, he turned Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, Patrick Beverley and Thomas Bryant into D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Mo Bamba and Davon Reed.
It was impressive maneuvering from Pelinka, who managed to add playmaking, outside shooting and size to a Lakers roster that needed all those things. With all the new additions on board, there’s a renewed sense of optimism that Los Angeles can make a run down the stretch of the season.
The Laker general manager has preached a collaborative approach when it comes to roster building, so it’s not too big of a surprise to hear that he consulted with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the trade deadline moves, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic:
“In terms of our team captains, LeBron and AD, they were both in favor of the deals that we made, and I did have a check-in with them and they both felt good about the moves,” Pelinka said.
It would make sense why Pelinka asked James and Davis about their opinions on the moves considering the pieces are meant to fit around them. The two stars have done their fair share of the heavy lifting, so it’s only right to make sure they were comfortable with the flurry of deals made.
This year’s trade deadline was the best showing Pelinka has made considering the talent he was able to acquire plus the optionality the team has going forward. Los Angeles can either choose to keep the new additions for the foreseeable future, or cut bait and start over with cap space if things don’t work out the rest of the way.
Regardless of how things play out, the Lakers are in a better position now than they were just a week ago.
Magic Johnson pleased with trade deadline acquisitions, especially D’Angelo Russell
Although no longer with the team in an official capacity, Magic Johnson still holds some influence considering his relationship with Jeanie Buss. When discussing the trade deadline acquisitions, Johnson said he was a fan and particularly liked the move to bring back Russell.
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