The Los Angeles Lakers made two main moves at the NBA trade deadline. In two separate trades with the Houston Rockets, the Lakers sent Lou Williams to Houston in exchange for Corey Brewer’s contract and Houston’s first round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and then followed that up by sending out Marcelo “The Catalyst” Huertas and taking back third-year guard Tyler Ennis.
What did our staff think of the deals? As always, opinions differed:
The Lakers accomplished their primary goal at the deadline in dealing away Lou Williams and getting a first rounder, albeit a late one, in return. With the scouting infrastructure led by Ryan West and Jesse Buss sticking around, this is a rock solid asset and we should have a lot of faith in them picking a contributor in that range.
Additionally, the pick can be packaged with Luol Deng or Timofey Mozgov in order to sweeten a deal to dump their contracts, although the Houston first likely is insufficient to convince another team to do so.
Brewer is a bit of dead-weight unfortunately and he doesn't change the Lakers' cap situation, but hopefully he can recoup some of his value in anticipation of a deal to get rid of him in the summer.
The other big item of note is that the front office didn't sell the farm for a shot at Paul George, playing the waiting game smartly with a guy who clearly wants to come to Los Angeles and with whom Indiana has limited leverage because George likely will not qualify for the designed veteran exemption. This eerily resembles the Carmelo Anthony saga with Denver a few years ago and the Lakers should learn from that example and wait out Indiana until George becomes a free agent unless Indiana's willing to accept a low-ball offer.
As for the Tyler Ennis deal, it was a solid, low-risk chance on a former first rounder, as Marcelo Huertas was almost certainly going to be waived this off-season and had no future on the team. Ennis has been awful in the league so far in his career but he's still 22 and he's a worthy use of a roster spot for the last third or so of the season.
Altogether, the Lakers did a decent job at the deadline. One does wonder whether any deals for Nick Young were available, but keeping him around was hardly the worst thing in the world since the spacing he provides does help the development time the young core is projected to get plenty of in the remaining games.
As previously mentioned, the George development was arguably the biggest piece of news and how the Lakers manage that saga will be the foremost story of choice as the team moves into buyout season (read: bye Calderon!).
Yes, maybe they could've gotten a better 1st from Washington in exchange for Williams. Yes, maybe the Lakers could have gotten a second rounder for Nick Young.
But given the front office purge just days before the deadline, the fact that Magic Johnson and company were able to make two astute moves that reflected the current state and goals of the organization? A very solid start.
The Lakers have a lot of work to do, but the early returns from the new regime are good.
As expected, the Lakers were able to get a first rounder for Lou WIlliams, but it will be one of the lowest picks in the first round, and they had to take on the dreadful Corey Brewer, who is still owed $7.6 million next year.
Truthfully I was expecting a bit of a better deal than this, but overall it's fine and definitely better than not moving him. I don't mind swapping Huertas for Ennis, but failing to move Nick Young (again) was a bit disappointing.
Grade: B / B +. Or a nice slap on the back and an unenthusiastic, yet genuine thumbs up.
Grading the broader moves the team made in terms of the front office shakeup is a different story meriting a different grade, but as for pure on-court related happenings, I think the Lakers more or less took care of business. I guess it’s disappointing they didn’t swing a blockbuster trade from an entertainment standpoint, but I’m fully on board with the prudence and patience approach as it pertains to holding on to their young assets.
If anyone is truly “hell bent” on coming to LA, there are still other avenues through which that can and should happen.
Getting a late first rounder for Lou was the main thing that needed doing, and the Lakers ended up right about where they should have on that front, even if it doesn’t blow anyone’s hair back.
Acquiring Corey Brewer for one more season at his price tag is decidedly...fine. Swapping Marcelo Huertas for Tyler Ennis is nice, if for no other reason than the major age difference, but debating the differences in their on-court impact really feels like more of a mid-August endeavor.
All in all, considering the mixture of the remaining front office framework and new blood, Laker fans should feel pretty alright about their team’s deadline. Who knows, maybe in a weird, roundabout sort of way, considering their “continuously strikeout while swinging for the fences” mentality of the last few years, the lack of crazy, splashy moves should even be something to get excited about.
I give the Lakers an “A” and the world an “A++” because Boston looked stupid as hell again. #analysis