As the NBA trade deadline approaches on Thursday, there have been plenty of reports about who the Lakers might be interested in trading for, and which players they might be shipping out. They just aren’t coming from the Lakers, according to one report.
In his game story from Tuesday night, Dave McMenamin of ESPN — a local beat writer who is as plugged in to the Lakers as they come, and would likely have a pretty good idea on if they were leaking much at the deadline — wrote that the rumors about the team’s intentions are coming from people other than Rob Pelinka:
While it’s become fashionable for some of the league’s executives to pass trade intentions to the press as a sort of trial balloon to gauge a player’s value, virtually none of the rumors you’ll read this week are originating from Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka’s office in El Segundo, California.
That’s another way things are different than two years ago, when the Lakers were complicit in the chaos that occurred leading up to the deadline with the information they were passing around.
Again, McMenamin is well-sourced on the Lakers beat, so while sure, it’s possible that Pelinka is just giving scoops to other reporters, him writing this at the very least indicates that it’s far more likely that a lot of these trade rumors are coming from outside the building.
Logically, that also makes a pretty good deal of sense, because most of the rumors that have come out don’t really benefit the Lakers in any obvious way by being public.
Don’t buy that? Here, let’s take a look at a few reports, and who they might benefit most:
- Don’t count the Lakers out for Kyle Lowry: Classing use of a big-market boogeyman to get the Sixers, Heat, or any other interested teams to up their offers for Lowry after recent posturing that they could sign him as a free agent this summer.
- The Lakers have made Dennis Schröder, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope available in trades: “Enjoy dealing with that grenade in your locker room, Rob!” -The GMs that leaked this, probably.
- The Lakers have reached out to the Thunder about George Hill: “Seriously, no one is going to offer me another first for George? I swear I will send him to the Lakers if you don’t. I’ll do it!” -Sam Presti trying to get other teams to up their offers for the veteran, probably.
The important thing to remember, however, is that “The Lakers/Team X doesn’t leak” does not mean “Any reports about the Lakers/Team X’s intentions are BS.” There are plenty of people other than the Lakers who would know what the Lakers are offering on the trade market. For example, if a bunch of teams are telling a reporter that certain players are being made available in talks, it’s probably true, even if Rob Pelinka didn’t text a media member himself.
Now look, the irony of a leak saying that the Lakers don’t leak isn’t lost on me, but still, as McMenamin hints at, this is backed up by how the Lakers seem to have moved a lot more stealthily since Pelinka took over for Magic Johnson, the latter of whom’s approach to trade talks seemed to be “text the L.A. Times the second you make a new offer.” If instead the only people that can leak a team’s intentions are their opponents or people that are trying to collaborate with them, then the noise around the organization is going to be a lot more quiet by default.
At least until the trade deadline hits on Thursday at noon, that is. At that point, we’ll know for sure if the Lakers did or didn’t make deals, one way or another. Just don’t expect to hear it from Pelinka beforehand.