A fan-favorite last year, Stanley Johnson has once again bounced around the league after being traded by the Lakers. Could he return to the Lakers this season? And just how unfair were the Nets in their trade talks with the Lakers?
Those are the topics of the headlines and rumors for today’s roundup.
Stanley Johnson reunion
In a season full of dull moments, one of the bright spots was Johnson. The So Cal native brought energy and effort and revitalized his career as a small-ball big with the purple and gold last season.
After being part of the trade that brought in Patrick Beverley, Johnson was waived by the Jazz, signed by the Spurs and subsequently waived by San Antonio as well. An interpretation of the rule could have then made it possible for the Lakers to reacquire him now but after some discussion, research and inquiries, it turns out that will not be the case.
Confirmed via league sources: The Lakers are unable to claim Stanley Johnson off waivers today or sign him if Johnson clears waivers. He is ineligible to re-sign with the Lakers for one year from last Aug. 24 as a result of being waived by Utah after the Lakers dealt him there.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 14, 2023
As much fun as Johnson was this year, with a more competent roster now for the Lakers, it’s unclear what, if any, his role would with the Lakers. While the team has a need for wing-sized players like Johnson, his skillset is not anything that of a wing at this point.
And the team already has high-energy forwards in Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt. They’re no longer severely undersized so they don’t need him attacking Rudy Gobert, either. While it was a fun possibility, it was also probably one the Lakers weren’t putting a lot of thought into anyway.
Rob Pelinka doesn’t believe in the Laker Tax
One of the more biased — if also sometimes true — beliefs held by Lakers fans is the idea of a Laker Tax in trades. Effectively, it’s an argument that teams require the Lakers to offer more in a trade, for example, than a competing team because they’re the Lakers and, more often than not, the disgruntled star they’re trading wants to go to Los Angeles.
It also can apply to other teams not wanting to help facilitate three-team deals or allowing the Lakers to buy draft picks or salary dump a player simply because they’re the Lakers. It’s a theory that casual NBA fans certainly won’t buy into and neither would Rob Pelinka, as he noted during his press conference after the trade deadline.
Rob Pelinka on if he’s found teams dealing with the Lakers don’t want to help them in deals because they’re the Lakers: “No, I haven’t.”— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) February 11, 2023
Now, having said all that...
The Nets had a Lakers Tax on Kyrie Irving
...the Nets definitely had a Lakers Tax for Kyrie Irving. Well, reportedly definitely, at least.
On his podcast following the trade deadline, longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein revealed what the Nets were asking from the Lakers in a Kyrie trade.
“Based one everything I was told, the Nets asked from the Lakers way more than they asked from any other team for Kyrie. They didn’t just want the two firsts and Russ (Westbrook). They wanted (Austin) Reaves. They wanted (Max) Christie. They wanted Rui (Hachimura) in a separate. They wanted everything the Lakers had.”
Instead of anything the Lakers offered, the Nets chose Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and an unprotected 2029 first round pick and two second round picks. It’s a truly bizarre decision to let feelings get in the way of business and cost you a better trade package, because you were made Kyrie would go to the franchise he wanted to after ruining yours.
Regardless, there’s a pretty strong argument that the Lakers are better off now without Irving, so I guess thank you, Joe Tsai?
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.