Despite all the rumors and reporting, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to stand pat at the NBA trade deadline.
The Lakers were primed to make a move given their record, but the front office apparently didn’t find any deals to their liking. It’s a curious decision to not make a move, especially considering what some role players ended up being dealt for.
Vice president of basketball operations and general maner Rob Pelinka spoke after the deadlined and detailed the team’s goals and thought process during the deadline.
“We talked a lot about continuity at the beginning of the season,” Pelinka said. “We really like the players on our team and we’re confident in this group of players. Of course, that said, our job, my job, is to always look for ways to upgrade our roster. But you can’t buy a house that’s not for sale. We spent a lot of time looking for ways to use assets to make our team better. But the right move wasn’t there.
“This summer, in June, at the time of the Draft, we’ll have three first-round draft picks to look for deals, which I think will really unlock an access to potentially a grater or bigger swing. We didn’t want to shoot a small bullet now, that would only lead to very marginal improvement at the expense of making a much bigger and more impactful move potentially in June or July. Sometimes no move is better than an unwise move.”
Pelinka also explained that making a move that only slightly improved the team was out of consideration for them.
“When I talk about marginal improvement, we have really good players in our rotation that are winning games, so sometimes if you trade for a player — let’s use a one to 10 scale — and you have a player that’s an eight or nine, and you trade for a player that plays the same position and he’s an 8.5, or nine or 10, but you’ve used assets to get that player, you’re getting that player for just a slight improvement and you’re really taking the player that is on your roster out of the rotation, and using a draft pick or asset to do it. So it just doesn’t make sense.”
Any sort of upgrade would’ve been a welcomed sight for the Lakers, but Pelinka and the rest of the brass must be feeling confident in the team’s ability to replicate the success they had last year.
Rob Pelinka confident in Lakers’ chances to compete
Perhaps the rationale behind standing pat also had to do with the returns of Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent. Pelinka expressed his belief in the roster and cited the In-Season Tournament as his proof of concept.
“Yeah, we’re confident,” Pelinka said. “This team had a really strong run in the In-Season Tournament. I know that was a small sample size, but I think we all saw that was some pretty dominant play by this group coming together. And again, sometimes continuity takes time, takes patience and we just have to let it develop.”
It’s a large gamble for Pelinka to make, but only time will tell if he and the organization were right to roll with their current group.
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