The Lakers have certainly exhausted many avenues in search of upgrades with the trade deadline now under a week away. Toiling away at .500 for much of the season, it feels pretty clear that something needs to change, but putting a finger on what that is has been difficult.
Perimeter defense has been an issue for the Lakers, particularly with Gabe Vincent effectively missing the entire season. That likely explains the team’s reported interest in one of the league’s best perimeter defenders.
According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers have reportedly called the Grizzlies about guard Marcus Smart but have been rebuffed.
While several clubs — including the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, sources said — have phoned Memphis about obtaining defensive stalwart Marcus Smart, the Grizzlies have shut down any overtures for the veteran guard, sources said.
Memphis is in a tricky situation with its roster and payroll. After pushing a lot of chips onto the table for this season, their injury crisis has them in a bit of a pickle, especially with Desmond Bane’s enormous extension kicking in next season.
They alleviated some of that pressure with their recent trade of Steven Adams, but their luxury tax bill is going to be a big one next season.
Perhaps that would have opened the door to trading Smart, who is due $41.7 million over the next two seasons. However, for now, the Grizzlies don’t seem interested in a deal.
Injuries have limited Smart to just 20 games this season. He’s averaging 14.5 points, 4.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He’s shooting just 31.3% from the 3-point line, despite going 8-14 from range against the Lakers. It’s the only time this season he’s made more than five 3-pointers in a game. Remove that game from his totals this season and he’s shooting 28.3% on the year.
No, I’m not salty.
If the Lakers don’t make a deal involving their first round picks at the deadline — or even if they do — they could revisit this when the team has more picks available to be dealt.
It’s certainly an interesting name to come up and one worth tracking moving forward.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.