The team held open a roster spot all season long for this situation. They also kept part of their mid-level exception during the offseason to be able to outspend other teams in the buyout market.
In short, they’re primed to make a big move in the coming days. On Thursday after the deadline, Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka spoke about what the team is targeting in the buyout market.
“I think probably two things we’re looking at: one would be a ball-handling guard,” Pelinka said. “Obviously, we signed Gabe Vincent, thought he fit really well but his health, he’s played five games so I think that would be sort of top of the list. Then best available after that. That would probably be the area we’re trying to address the most just because, right now, we have D’Angelo Russell at point guard but, after that, we don’t have a point guard on the roster.”
Given their nearly immediate interest in Spencer Dinwiddie, Pelinka wasn’t lying when saying the team would target a ball handler. Dinwiddie actually ticks off both the boxes for the Lakers as ball handler and best available as things stand with the buyout market.
As Pelinka noted, the only true point guard on the roster available right now are D’Angelo Russell and Jalen Hood-Schifino, the latter whose most recent cameos in the rotation have not gone well. While Gabe Vincent fits that billing, his return is certainly not imminent and he’s proven to be unreliable from a health perspective this season, unfortunately.
The issue, however, is going to be if they miss out on Dinwiddie. With Kyle Lowry seeming more likely to join the Sixers or Knicks than the Lakers if he’s bought out, the next best ball handler on the market would be...Killian Hayes? It gets dire after that right now.
These things could change depending on who seeks and agrees to a buyout, but if the Lakers truly do value ball handling over everything, then landing Dinwiddie is going to be paramount to fill that need.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.