While so much has been made about the re-acquisition of D’Angelo Russell and what he means to the Lakers in his return, but the players that came in the trade with him — Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley — have made big impacts in their own regard. Neither’s impact has been quite as statistically prevalent as D’Lo’s, but both have made an impact.
Vanderbilt represents the wing the Lakers have desperately needed, while Beasley not just provides 3-point shooting prowess but legitimate gravity on the offensive end that has a noticeable impact on its own.
As impactful and positive as they have been for the Lakers, it nearly was a much different trade deadline for Vanderbilt, Beasley and the purple and gold. According to Zach Lowe on his latest episode of “The Lowe Post” podcast, the Pelicans nearly completed a deal for the pair before the Lakers at the deadline.
“The Pelicans were close to getting Beasley and Vanderbilt from Utah at the trade deadline, or close-ish. They had a pretty good offer on the table, it was a draft equity-based offer with a pick that maybe was not as good as the Lakers pick that they ended up trading, but pretty close from what I’ve heard. But one of the issues was maybe the picks weren’t exactly equivalent, but the other issue was Conley, and the Jazz’s determination to get off of Conley, and could the Pelicans figure that out somehow and it became a little complicated. But that trade ends up helping the Lakers, helping the Wolves, and the Pelicans don’t get involved in it and now they’re falling apart.”
Not only is this a win for the Lakers simply because they acquired these two players that have drastically improved their team in recent weeks and months, but for them not to go to a direct rival for the play-in game is an even more massive win. And for it to specifically to be the Pelicans they don’t go to, a team that Lowe mentions is collapsing, is important as the pair could have perhaps steadied the ship in New Orleans.
Instead, they jump to the Lakers and provide them a huge boost while also not doing the same to the Pelicans. It’s unclear if they would have had the same type of impact on the Pelicans as they already have defensive-first, non-shooting wings, though that may also be exactly why Beasley would have helped them.
Now, though, the pair are not just helping the Lakers playoff push this season but also look set to be on the team moving forward. And considering how directly tied the Lakers success or failure is to the Pelicans' draft fortunes, that makes this one even a little bit sweeter.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.