Pacific Notes: Lakers, Christie, Warriors, Kuminga, Thompson, Duarte

While it was trending that way for a while, the Lakers officially did not make a trade at the 2024, one year removed from a busy 2023 deadline that saw them add D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and more. Though they reportedly pursued players like Hawks guard Dejounte Murray and Raptors wing Bruce Brown, the Lakers ultimately didn’t find a deal that appealed to them and will instead look to get healthy, maintain continuity, and attempt to recreate their Western Conference Finals run from a year ago.

Addressing reporters following the deadline on Thursday, general manager Rob Pelinka emphasized the fact that nothing stood out to them around the league, per The Athletic’s Jovan Buha (Twitter link).

You can’t buy a house that’s not for sale. … The right move wasn’t there,” Pelinka said.

In addition, it was important to the Lakers to maintain as many assets as possible for a potentially bigger swing in the offseason, according to Buha. The offseason will unlock up to two more first-round picks for Los Angeles to trade for “a greater or bigger swing.” According to The Orange County Register’s Khobi Price, Pelinka didn’t want to “shoot a small bullet now that would only lead to marginal improvement” and would inhibit their ability to make moves down the line (Twitter link).

As for this season’s team, Pelinka specifically mentioned getting Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent back from their current injuries and being “very aggressive” to add a “really good player” with their open roster spot on the buyout market (Twitter links).

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Max Christie suffered a right ankle sprain and left in the second quarter of the Lakers‘ Thursday matchup against the Nuggets. He did not return, according to Buha, and Taurean Prince started the second half in his place (Twitter links). Christie was starting in place of Russell, who missed the game due to knee soreness.
  • The Warriors made just one small move at the deadline, sending out Cory Joseph to the Pacers. While players like Andrew Wiggins were involved in rumors throughout the season, there wasn’t an appealing offer out there. “We explored a lot and frankly there wasn’t a lot out there that we thought could improve us significantly at an appropriate price,” general manager Mike Dunleavy said, via The Athletic’s Anthony Slater (Twitter link). Dunleavy added that Jonathan Kuminga, who also came up in rumors early in the season before averaging 21.1 points since the New Year, was “virtually untouchable.” “As untouchable as guys can be in this league,” Dunleavy said (Twitter link via Slater). “Didn’t see a scenario where Jonathan wouldn’t be on our team after this deadline.
  • Warriors guard Klay Thompson has seemed discouraged throughout the season by his play. While his 17.1 points per game and 37.7% clip from deep are impressive for any player, he’s not quite the same as he was when he was a multi-time All-Star and All-NBA selection. The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II explores Thompson’s situation and laments the injury that cost him two seasons of his prime. While he might not be an All-Star anymore, he still has the ability to help the Warriors win, Thompson notes.
  • Kings guard Chris Duarte suffered a right ankle sprain ahead of Wednesday’s matchup with the Pistons, Fox 40 Sacramento’s Sean Cunningham tweets. He will be out against the Nuggets on Friday and will be re-evaluated in seven-to-14 days, according to The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson (Twitter link). Duarte is averaging 3.7 points this season.
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