Despite making and taking trade calls for weeks, the Lakers didn’t come particularly close to making a deal on Thursday, sources tell Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the closest the Lakers ever get to reaching a trade agreement was several weeks ago when they discussed a deal with the Hawks that would’ve send Dejounte Murray to Los Angeles for a package centered around D’Angelo Russell, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and the Lakers’ 2029 first-round pick.
Atlanta’s resistance to taking Russell was long viewed as the primary holdup in those discussions, but Buha also hears from team and league sources that the Hawks repeatedly insisted on Austin Reaves‘ inclusion, which was a non-starter for Los Angeles.
Having not made a move at the deadline, the Lakers will have three first-round picks available to trade this offseason — either 2024 or 2025 (New Orleans can acquire this year’s pick or defer it to next year), plus 2029 and 2031. L.A. would ideally like to use their draft assets in a package to acquire a third star, Buha says, identifying Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers), Trae Young (Hawks), and Kyrie Irving (Mavericks) as some potential targets. It’s unclear how many of those players – if any – will actually be available on the trade market this offseason.
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- The front office mulled the possibility of trading Taurean Prince, but head coach Darvin Ham was a among the “vocal supporters” of hanging onto the veteran forward, team sources tell Buha.
- The Lakers were in position to potentially duck the luxury tax by attaching a minor asset (such as a second-round pick or cash) to a minimum-salary player, but opted against it, deciding they didn’t want to save money at the expense of roster depth, Buha writes.
- Rob Pelinka indicated that the Lakers will be in the market for a “ball-handling guard” or simply the best available player on the buyout market, per Buha. “Obviously, we signed Gabe Vincent and thought he fit really well, but his health just hasn’t (been there),” Pelinka said. “He’s played five games. I think that would be sort of top of the list. … That would probably be the area we’re trying to address the most, just because right now we have D’Angelo Russell at point guard, but after that we don’t have a point guard on the roster.” Los Angeles has interest in Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Lowry (assuming he’s bought out), but will face competition from rival suitors, including Dallas on Dinwiddie and Philadelphia on Lowry, Buha observes.
- There’s some pessimism within the organization about Jarred Vanderbilt‘s odds of returning this season, with the possibility of season-ending foot surgery still on the table, according to Buha. “Until an injury is healed and the player’s back, you’re kind of always in the evaluation process of figuring out what it’s gonna take to get a player healthy and back on the court,” Pelinka said. “I would just say we’re hopeful that we can get Jarred back healthy and on the court without surgery, but you never know. Time will tell. But that’s certainly our hope.”