The NBA trade deadline came and went with no deals done by the Lakers despite being in constant rumors. On Thursday vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka spoke with the media to explain why the Lakers didn't make a move.
The conversation was a peak behind the curtain on the Lakers' challenges finding the right deal.
The Lakers debated trading Taurean Prince, but Darvin Ham argued to retain him. So, with no trade moving the needle enough, the team opted to keep the roster as is. They are now aiming for a bigger trade attempt for Donovan Mitchell or Trae Young in the summer when they have more first-round draft picks to use in a deal.
Gabe Vincent was one of the players the Lakers could've traded for some marginal improvement. He's on a contract that could've been used to salary match and bring back a 3-and-D wing like Dorian Finney-Smith to help replace Jarred Vanderbilt while he is out with a mid-foot sprain.
"People didn't want Gabe, Buha said. “That's kind of just where things were with that. I was talking to people, 'Couldn't you give Gabe, JHS and a first for Dorian Finney-Smith?' On paper, that sounds like a kind of interesting deal. Gabe does have two years left but you're getting JHS – a top-20 pick – you're getting a first round pick, maybe with some protection. Would Brooklyn do that? And it was like 'No, they would not.' People kind of view Gabe as dead money moving forward. They were just in a tough spot."
It’s not the news fans want to hear, but it takes two to make a deal and by all accounts a deal that would've been a net positive just wasn’t available for the Lakers. Also, even if there was a deal that would lead to a handful of wins is that a better scenario versus waiting for the summer to try and get an actual superstar?
This is the gamble Pelinka and the Lakers are taking.
They didn’t like what was possible and are betting a better deal can happen in the summer to get this team into title contention.
The Lakers aren’t just kicking the can down the road. The team is reportedly signing Spencer Dinwiddie once he clears waivers. This gives the Lakers another ball handling guard which Pelinka mentioned as a goal for the team with their final roster spot.
With Dinwiddie included the roster is completely full. Now the Lakers will focus on winning games and getting fully healthy as Vanderbilt, Max Christie, Cam Reddish and Vincent are currently out.
The league might look at Vincent as dead money but the Lakers are hoping he can return in March and they can still cash in on what they invested in him.
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