Much how the trade deadline came and passed without the Lakers making any kind of movement, the buyout market has nearly entirely come and gone without the Lakers making any sort of moves.
There are many similarities between the two scenarios with the Lakers having very limited options in both situations. At the deadline, it was a lack of supply that led to teams not being interested in trading with the Lakers. In the buyout market, though, it’s been a lack of demand.
For a variety of reasons, the buyout market has been relatively non-existent ahead of the March 1 deadline. Longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein provided the latest update/non-update on the Lakers and the buyout market, noting the team has been linked to virtually nobody.
“On the buyout front, I haven’t heard the Lakers really mentioned with anyone, but that’s also because the buyout market has gone pretty quiet. I mean, we had Tristan Thompson, we had Dragic, the Sixers obviously signed Willie Cauley-Stein on a 10-day, but he was a free agent, that wasn’t really a buyout thing. There just isn’t much action right now in terms of difference-making players who have been set free yet. We still have time though.”
The Lakers had been linked to both Tristan Thompson and Goran Dragic, but the former immediately signed with the Bulls after his buyout and the latter did not consider the Lakers for too long, seemingly, before signing with the Nets.
Outside of that, though, there have been few buyouts options and even fewer impactful ones. As was the nature of the Lakers gambling on using the buyout market to improve their roster, the chance of there not being players available to sign always existed.
The result is the Lakers remain a heavily flawed team without an opportunity to fix those flaws once again. The deadline for players to be bought out and still be eligible for the playoffs is the end of the day on March 1, which gives the Lakers a few more days to find upgrades.
But there also isn’t any players that will be imminently available that could impact things for the Lakers. Gary Harris is not pushing for a buyout in Orlando, There has been little mention of one for Robin Lopez with the Magic either. Rodney Hood, Ben McLemore or Gorgui Dieng all could be bought out, but not make a notable difference for the Lakers.
The Lakers certainly knew this was a risk when they held pat at the trade deadline. Short of landing Dragic or Thompson, there was unlikely to be an impactful player available for the team to sign. Largely speaking, the Lakers will have to make do with what they have and hope for the best down the home stretch.
And if that’s the case.....oof