In recent weeks, LeBron James has been playing a game of chess with the Lakers’ front office. After he reportedly expressed interest in joining the Clippers and Rockets as well, it became clear that his future will have an impact on what happens at Staples Center this summer. With just over three minutes remaining before the trade deadline passed Thursday night, Los Angeles pulled off one last big move- trading Jordan Clarkson to Cleveland for Larry Nance Jr., Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye.- but not without some drama along the way!
The Lakers’ trade deadline was a silent one, as LeBron James’ future in Los Angeles played a role. Read more in detail here: nba rumors: lakers.
Despite having the worst season in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers did not make any moves during the NBA trade deadline. Several alternative transactions involving the Lakers and LeBron James were speculated, but none came to fruition.
Now it’s up to LeBron to find a way to get Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the LA team into the playoffs (and maybe even, in a fairy-tale-like run, into the second round!)
Despite LeGM’s involvement in choices, the Lakers’ real general manager, Rob Pelinka, has the final say on what occurs with the club, which means it was his decision not to make any trades.
How much did James’ future in Los Angeles — or, more likely, his lack of it — have to do with the team’s quiet trade deadline?
The Lakers, led by LeBron James, are stuck in a rut.
During a game versus the Miami Heat, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers watches on. | Getty Images/Michael Reaves
Los Angeles is now 26-31 on the season after a defeat to the Golden State Warriors on February 12. The squad is currently ranked ninth in the Western Conference and would be in the bottom half of the play-in tournament if the season ended today.
When Bron and Pelinka went out and grabbed Westbrook before the season started, they weren’t exactly where they planned to be.
This season, AD has missed 21 games. Head coach Frank Vogel tried out a lineup with James at center, and it seemed to work to some degree. However, it’s understandable that a team with a 6-foot-9 37-year-old at the five isn’t terrific on defense or on the boards.
The Lakers rank 26th in points allowed and 13th in rebounds in the NBA. The roster balance is out of whack, with Dwight Howard as the only real center in the rotation and Davis missing over a third of the season.
With Westbrook’s precipitous drop, LA could have used a boost at the deadline in the form of almost anything. On the western front, though, everything was peaceful.
LeBron is nearing the end of his career, yet his team has a slim to non-existent (mainly non-existent) chance of winning another title this season. So why didn’t the franchise do anything to assist?
The Lakers’ refusal to add a future draft selection has been the subject of post-deadline speculation.
A 2027 first-round selection was LA’s finest trading asset. There are no additional selections available for the club to trade because of the win-now moves the management has taken for LBJ.
Talen Horton-Tucker is the greatest young player in the league, but he’s had a poor year, and his value has plummeted. As a result, the Lakers didn’t have a lot of trade assets with which to make a deal.
Even still, speculations about Russ being traded for John Wall persisted. The Houston Rockets, on the other hand, were unwilling to complete the trade unless the 2027 first-round pick was included.
That deal wouldn’t have changed the game, but getting rid of Westbrook’s salary and the assumed superior fit of Wall next to LeBron would have.
Another Lakers trade rumor surfaced on the day of the deadline, this time involving winger Cam Reddish of the New York Knicks. A three-and-D player would have been part of the tonic that might have cured some of the team’s ailments. But, once again, LA was deafeningly silent.
The team flatly refused to take the 2027 choice. It’s improbable that James will still be a Laker in five years, thus that asset represented the greatest potential to get anything useful in the short term.
Pelinka seems to have kept the choice because he knew the club could need it and that its future worth would surpass its current value. That suggests he went for a long-term asset over one who may aid Bron-Bron this season.
Was the hush in Los Angeles due to LeBron’s future plans?
The obvious response seems to be yes, for the reasons stated above.
Pelinka told NBC Sports, “We simply didn’t find a deal that made sense.” “I spoke with LeBron and Anthony about it, and I believe we’re on the same page.” “And it is the only thing that counts,” he continued.
But ESPN’s Dave McMenamin heard the opposite.
“That is ‘completely incorrect,’ according to a person acquainted with LeBron and Anthony’s thinking.” On Thursday, there was no communication between Rob Pelinka, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. There was no prior approval for inactivity at the deadline.”
A schism between the Lakers’ two stars and the front staff isn’t a good omen for the future or the present. Even more concerning is the absence of communication between LeBron and Pelinka.
Surely, the four-time MVP would have sent that prospective first-round pick elsewhere to get some assistance this season. What sense does it make for him to keep a choice that won’t be delivered until he’s 42?
The Lakers’ lack of movement at the deadline this year was mostly due to LeBron’s future in Los Angeles, as his contract expires after next season.
The franchise’s silence and reluctance to trade the choice demonstrates that they’re prepared for life without The King.
NBA.com provided all data.
RELATED: NBA Trade Deadline: The Three Most Important Under-the-Radar Moves on Deadline Day
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