For the first time since the 2015-16 season, the Los Angeles Lakers opted not to make a move at the trade deadline. However, while they didn’t make a trade, were determined to improve their roster in the buyout market. In order to do that, they had to make the difficult decision to cut Troy Daniels, their first signing of the 2019 free agency period.
Daniels wasn’t a splashy signing, but he was expected to bring reliable 3-point shooting to a team that needed it. For his career, Daniels is a 39.6% shooter from behind the arc.
Unfortunately for Daniels, he was never able to crack Vogel’s rotation, which made him one of the more expendable players on the roster after the trade deadline passed. Daniels told Mark Berman of Roanoke Times that he had an opportunity to stay with the Lakers, but after consulting with his teammates, he decided it would be in his best interest to explore other options:
“[The Lakers said,] ‘We don’t know if we’re going to cut Troy or not. We love him, we want to keep him on the team, but there is a chance that could happen. And we wouldn’t want him to not be able to be on a playoff team,’ ” Daniels said. “So they gave me the chance to go out and find teams. There were five or six teams very interested … We found a team [Denver] that was ready to go and we went to the Lakers.
“I had the choice to leave the Lakers or I had the choice to stay. … I actually called LeBron, I called A.D., and I got their input. They basically said, ‘Make the best decision for you and your career.’ ”
For Daniels leaving Los Angeles made a ton of sense. He was on a one-year deal, and had a chance to raise his stock by moving the needle for a playoff team. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note that the Lakers were looking at other options at shooting guard well before Daniels was waived, so if he didn’t leave, he was going to be shown the door eventually. From the sounds of it, he knew that too.
That didn’t make his decision any easier, though:
It was one of the hardest decisions of his life, said Daniels.
“Nobody wants to leave the Lakers. Nobody wants to leave that type of organization, especially when you’re winning. You feel like you’ve got a team that can win a championship, so I almost stayed,” he said.
“But I made a decision to go to the No. 2 or No. 3 team in the [Western Conference]. It was just to have something guaranteed to where I know I’m good in the playoffs — because that’s where you make your name, that’s where you make your money.
“I’ll still be in the NBA, I’ll still be on a top-three team in the West, … and … I can get another $500,000 if I go to Denver. So I felt like it was a no-brainer at that point.”
With Daniels’ history of being a knockdown 3-point shooter, there was little doubt that he was going to land on a team, especially with the lack of sure things on the market in March. Let’s just hope Daniels doesn’t get the opportunity to have a revenge game against the Lakers in the postseason.