Lakers Lacking in Trade Deadline Deals

My Dad and I enjoying a rare Lakers win on January 29th against the Bulls.

My Dad and I enjoying a rare Lakers win on January 29th against the Bulls.

Yesterday, as the clock struck noon in Los Angeles, our Lakers remained just as bad as they were at 11:59 am. This is because the Lakers failed to make a single move before the trade deadline. It amazes me that with so many teams putting players on the chopping block, we were unable to make a single trade.

Now you might be thinking, “The Lakers have no assets to trade, why would anyone make a deal with them?” While this is a good question (a question my father has asked me on multiple occasions) I will give you an answer. While we may not have a wide array of “good players” we do have a plethora of expiring contracts. Here are the list of players who will be free agents this summer: Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis, Wayne Ellington, Jordan Hill, Wesley Johnson, Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash, and Ronnie Price.

When teams make a trade they want at least one of the following: good player, draft pick, cut in salary cap, and or expiring contract to elevate the cap for the following year. So while we are lacking in the first 3 options, we were certainly able to give up some of our players. It is OK that we don’t have a good player or draft pick to go along with it, because as we have seen of late in the NBA, 3 team trades have become very popular. This is not surprising since with the new CBA agreement, it is very difficult to hit any sort of trifecta trade without bringing in additional teams.

Instead of engaging in a 3 team trade to gain some assets going into the very competitive free agency market. We decided to stick with the game plan of using the Lakers brand to lure in free agents. As I write this, I want to scream into my pillow.

On Tuesday night, I read that we were the front runners to get Goran Dragic. For some reason this kid wanted to come and play for the Lakers. Instead of pouncing on the opportunity, we let the Heat snag him. Granted, he is going to be a free agent this summer so we can still pursue him, but it will be a much harder sell after going to a team being run by Pat Riley. The Heat might be re-discovering themselves right now, but they will not be down for long. (Side note: I would like to wish a speedy recovery to Chris Bosh who is currently ill with blood clots.)

Unfortunately, the Lakers failed to make any productive changes to entice the free agents. Now it is time to sit back, watch the rest of the season unfold and see if my rants about the Lakers game plan make it into my “Throwback Thursday: I Told You So” blog.

P.S. This blog was a bit of a downer. So to cheer you up I wanted to share this article my friend Joel sent me. Enjoy!


Misery Loves Company

(Chris Carlson, AP)

Photo Credit: (Chris Carlson, AP)

We all know the saying, “Misery Loves Company.” I am assuming a lot of my fans still read my blog in this tumultuous season for that reason alone. However, today I do not want to talk about our misery. Instead, I want to talk about other teams’ misery, and how we can take advantage.

It’s the time of the season where the bad teams face reality and start making changes. We just saw the 3 team trade go down today between the Cavs, OKC, and Knicks. Now it is time to take advantage of everyone else who is also suffering and making some changes.

Byron Scott can monitor Kobe’s minutes and have him miss games, but let’s call a spade a spade, this season is done for the Lakers. I am not in favor of clearing out cap space, instead I want the Lakers to acquire some quality players so we have some good free agency bait.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, players are not going to come to the Lakers simply because we can afford them, we have the legacy, we have Kobe, and or LA is awesome. Those reasons don’t fly anymore. This generation of players want it all: the money, the city, and the championship. Right now we can only offer 2/3.

We have a lot of players with contracts that expire this year. Mitch/Jim did that on purpose so we would have cap space. Basically, they went with the Miami Heat strategy. Here is the problem with that strategy. Miami had Dwayne Wade rallying the troops to Miami. No matter how hard LeBron tried, Wade and Bosh refused to go Cleveland. There was brief talk about going to Chicago, but Wade and Bosh decided to force LeBron’s hand. Bosh was going to follow Wade wherever he went, but only Miami could afford to sign all 3. If Wade and Bosh decided to go Chicago, then LeBron would be a lose canon and probably would have gone back to Cleveland.

It was a brilliant strategy. One that I have no doubt Pat Riley played some role in, but my point is that we cannot play that game. Kobe (unlike the previously mentioned big 3) is not in the prime of his career. I can also mention the fact that many people seem to think playing with him is a nightmare, but I refuse to give that topic any more credence. Needless to say, he doesn’t hold the same stock as those players did 4.5 years ago.

Regardless, Jim Buss said the strategy is that we have enough money to sign 2 big free agents. I already discussed at length the stupidity of that statement, so here is my new strategy: Kobe needs to reach out to players and have them decide to pull a Wade-LeBron-Bosh move to come to LA. He needs to promise to mentor and then hand the team over. Basically, he needs to give them what he refused to give Dwight Howard.

Players do not want to gamble and see if big cities can turn it around. We have watched the Knicks struggle for years, much to Melo and Amare’s horror. Instead, players want to go to teams that have good building blocks so they won’t be stuck in purgatory for years (sound familiar?). Dwight Howard jumped ship because he hated playing for this team (D’Antoni and Kobe) and he could see the destructive path we were on. His move has obviously paid off since Houston is a contender in the west.

Luckily, we have a good amount of teams who will look to revamp their roster. The entire eastern conference (minus the top 4 teams) is a disaster. All those teams all crumbling and need to make changes if they ever want to compete with the west. Also, the west is so competitive that teams will look to add in the missing piece to take them to the next level. While the Lakers do not have anyone on the team to trade to fulfill that purpose, they do have assets they can trade to a third party in order to make that trade happen. Expiring contracts are useful and the Lakers are full of those.

My point, is that we have plenty of options. I am not going to sit here and give a list simply because there are so many directions to take this team. The Brooklyn Nets have put their entire team on the trading block, and players like Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo do not appear to be set in their new teams.

We have until the All Star break to make moves, and if we play our hand correctly, then we can put ourselves in a great position to acquire free agents. Or we can do what Jim wants, and simply sit back and do nothing while we all go down with the ship. Let’s see how this plays out.


P.S. We had 2 tragic loses in the NBA community this week: Stuart Scott and Mitch Kupchak’s 15 year old daughter Alina. I would like to send my condolences to both families. There are no words.