The Lakers did not make a trade at Thursday’s noon PST deadline, a move that at once signals they’re comfortable enough with their current roster, that they weren’t compelled by any perceived pressure from LeBron James and that their current roster is good enough to help push a .500 team into better position to contend.
The pursuit of Atlanta’s Dejounte Murray stalled out with the Hawks’ insistence on acquiring Austin Reaves, costs for coveted role players like Alex Caruso never dropped to reachable rates, and no move around the margins, where the Lakers said they planned to be aggressive, ever materialized, according to people familiar with the situation who are not authorized to speak publicly.
The Lakers also weighed the possibility of having access to potentially trade three first-round draft choices (2024, 2029 and 2031) this offseason — the kind of package they could try to use to deal for a star like Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell should that opportunity arise.
Unlike last year, the Lakers didn’t remake their roster at the deadline — something that seemed a likelihood after the team’s miserable December. But a combination of factors — D’Angelo Russell’s improved play, a market with more buyers than sellers and the Lakers’ limited mix of expiring contracts and draft picks — kept the team quiet Thursday.
In the Western Conference, Dallas added Washington center Daniel Gafford and Charlotte forward P.J. Washington for first-round picks and Phoenix sent three second-round picks and a slew of players on minimum contract to acquire Brooklyn’s Royce O’Neal and Memphis’ David Roddy. Oklahoma City also traded for Hornets forward Gordon Hayward.
Following consecutive losses in the week before the trade deadline, James tweeted an hourglass emoji. And while he later declined to comment about the post, it was widely interpreted to mean he wanted to see an increased sense of urgency from the Lakers’ front office.
James can opt out of the final year of his contract this offseason and become an unrestricted free agent.