The Los Angeles Lakers played it safe at the trade deadline, electing not to pull the trigger on Kyle Lowry or other rumored players such as Terrance Ross that would have enhanced their win-now window. The Lakers were reportedly unwilling to trade young, promising wing Talen Horton-Tucker in a deal for Lowry, but they were listening to offers for Montrezl Harrell and willing to trade Dennis Schroder in a Lowry deal. With Harrell expected to be competing with Andre Drummond for minutes at Center as well as the current bigs on the roster), it makes sense for Los Angeles to see what Harrell‘s market was like. As for Schroder, he has said he wants to sign long-term with the Lakers, but he also wants to get paid properly. The Lakers and Schroder are not currently close in negotiations, and that’s why he was a focal point in a Lowry deal. Another rumored name was Terrance Ross of the Orlando Magic, but it’s unclear whether Los Angeles made a strong push for Ross or not. So, what does all this mean for the Lakers moving forward this year and beyond?
For the Lakers, they didn’t have to make any trades at the deadline. However, with Anthony Davis still sidelined and LeBron James recently getting injured, there’s cause for concern in Los Angeles. Especially since the Western Conference is so competitive and ever-changing, and the Brooklyn Nets continue to dominate the buyout market. Not only did they sign Blake Griffin, who had interest in the Lakers, but they also signed LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge was reportedly expected to sign with the Miami Heat after agreeing to a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs, but changed course and signed with Brooklyn.
Now, the Lakers have a chance to gain some ground by signing the recently bought out Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond, who is expected to join the team when he clears waivers. Drummond will provide rebounding and size more than anything for the Lakers, and a scoring punch while LeBron and AD are out. He can provide some better rim protection than Montrezl Harrell can due to his frame, too. Beyond this season, I doubt Drummond returns to LA, but crazier things have happened in the NBA.
For the Lakers, not making any significant moves the deadline signals that they truly are committed to focusing on Anthony Davis‘ future in LA just as much, if not more, than LeBron‘s current window with the team. Having a player like Kyle Lowry would have significantly increased Los Angeles‘ title hopes for this season, but future years could have definitely been tarnished by a trade. By doing a win-now move, that could mean losing Anthony Davis in the future, in the post-LeBron era. The Lakers will be in a much better position to compete long-term, especially with players like Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker having larger roles on the team.
In a sense, the Lakers chose Anthony Davis over LeBron James here. Strange, but true. Now, how long will James be playing? No one knows, I’m not even sure LeBron knows the answer to that question yet. We know he wants to play with his son, Bronny, but other than that, how much longer past that would he be willing to play? Does LeBron has 40,000 career points on his mind? There’s many questions remain unanswered, and they probably will remain that way for some time. Until then, there will only be speculation and anticipation.
Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann