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The Lakers decision to remain as is at the trade deadline was one that few expected. While it was clear the Lakers’ trade assets were not valued across the league, the team standing pat barely hours removed from arguably the worst loss of the season in Portland felt unfathomable.
But Pelinka’s decision was measured, an estimation that no move the Lakers could make could substantially improve the team in the short term, nor was it worth giving up long-term assets to make those incremental improvements. But the fact that analysis of the team needed to be made in early February is an indictment on the Lakers offseason.
Pelinka and the Lakers front office made a series of gambles in the offseason, none bigger than trading for Russell Westbrook. It’s a move that not only hasn’t worked but has blown up in their face spectacularly over the last week.
Add it all up and, 18 months removed from the Lakers winning a title, and Pelinka’s seat is starting to glow red. In our latest SB Nations reacts survey, Lakers fans were asked about the security of Pelinka’s job with a surprisingly strong response.
Likely, the responses were fueled by the frustrations of a trade deadline where none of the team’s issues were addressed and on the heels of the Westbrook-Frank Vogel dynamic worsening at a rapid rate. It comes at a time when the Lakers are at their lowest point of this season and in recent seasons as a whole and it comes at a time where there’s little optimism for the future.
No new players coming in via trade. The same problems existing before and after the trade deadline. The Westbrook situation heading for a rapidly approaching sour ending. And Pelinka overseeing it all puts him directly in the crosshairs and makes the decisions in the coming months he’ll be forced to make ones that could impact how much longer he is the team’s general manager.
The Lakers not making moves at the deadline was the exception, not the rule, this year. The highlight of the Deadline Day madness was obviously the Ben Simmons-James Harden swap, but many other teams made moves — including some blockbuster ones — ahead of Thursday as well.
The Pacers began their teardown by shipping out Domantas Sabonis and Caris Levert while a number of other contenders retooled. But at the end of the day, there were only two possible teams that could be considered the winners of the deadline.
Specifically looking at that Nets-Sixers trade, it’s a move that is effectively a win-win for both sides. Philadelphia was able to turn a player who was not playing into an All-Star while the Nets were able to turn a player seemingly ready to leave in free agency into a young All-Star under team control.
It’s a win-win for both sides, but most fans think Brooklyn was the one who came out as favorites.
Both teams will remain contenders for quite some time with Thursday’s move being more of a shuffle of the deck for both sides than either team rebuilding. It’ll create some fascinating storylines in the Eastern Conference...which Laker fans may have plenty of time to watch given the current trajectory of their team.
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