The NBA trade deadline has come and gone and the vast majority of the Los Angeles Lakers young core is still intact (except for you, Ivica Zubac — we’ll always remember you). Lonzo Ball took to Instagram to celebrate the accomplishment.
LONZO BALL IS ON ONE SDUKFLSDHBFLKSDBFSDK (from his IG story) pic.twitter.com/sngUUqWQAZ— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) February 7, 2019
Lonzo’s post is legitimately funny, and that’s the takeaway first and foremost, but on a larger level, it hopefully signifies a move across the roster to put all these trade rumors behind them.
Where it gets difficult to do that is when you remember that Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and the rest of the young core weren’t moved because the Lakers front office valued them above what the New Orleans Pelicans were demanding in return for Anthony Davis. Magic Johnson balked at giving up too many picks. It wasn’t the players who held up the trade.
So everyone whose name made its way into trade talks will have to walk back into the locker room now with the knowledge that not only were Magic and LeBron James happy to jettison them to New Orleans, but that they weren’t enough to get Davis and are likely a source of frustration for both their team presidents.
Still, this is the NBA. Trade rumors and personnel movement are a part of the business. The best way for young guys to avoid these trade rumors is to reach their absolute potential so they become all the more difficult to move. None of the Lakers’ young core have done so, and until they do, they’ll likely find themselves in trade rumors for the rest of their careers.
Lonzo can celebrate for now, but his celebration may not last long in the offseason.
As awkward as all this might be, the Lakers have to turn right around and have a game Thursday night in Boston. That’s step one in recovering from what must have been a difficult trade deadline for all involved. If they don’t, they can get ready for more personnel movement periods like the one they just experienced this summer.