Lakers vs 76ers
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Lakers Trade Deadline 2021: Buying Into Buyouts

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The NBA trade dealing was today and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers were rumored to be in the mix for a number of big name players to pair with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

 

Lakers
Photo Credit: The Athletic

The Lakers main need (again) seems to be either an extra big man or another 3-and-D wing. The Orlando Magic’s Terrance Ross and the Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowery had been the two names that Laker Nation was been keeping a close eye on when it came to a possible trade at the NBA trade deadline. The buyout market will also keep Lakers fans busy clicking the refresh button on the computer waiting for the Woj-Bomb with the Cavs Andre Drummond and the Spurs LaMarcus Aldridge available.

Ross was an ideal reserve wing and exactly what the Lakers were looking for. He can create his own shot and has been one of the best scorers off the bench the last couple of years. This season Ross is averaging a career-high 16 points per game while also posting career-highs in rebounds and assists and shooting 36% from 3-point range.

Ross also has a previous relationship with Lakers general Rob Pelinka; he is a former client during Pelinka’s time as an agent. The Lakers are a close-knit group, and Pelinka would surely want to bring in someone who wouldn’t mess up the team’s chemistry.

 

The Raptors seemed to be intent on moving Lowery and the Lakers, along with the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat were reported to be ‘seriously engaged’ in talks, with the Los Angeles Clippers also mentioned as the 12 pm PST deadline approached.

 

Lakers Preview
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The Lakers’ assets, in particular the draft picks, didn’t stack up in comparison to their competition. Still, the Purple and Gold had players like Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrez Harrell as potential trade chips. The trio mentioned I just mentioned are quality players; although none likely moved the needle for the Raptors as they were said to be looking for young players or draft picks. Considering the Lakers lack the latter after trading away a number of their picks for Davis, L.A.’s only young asset in Talen Horton-Tucker would likely have had to be included in the trade offer to make it competitive, but the Lakers wouldn’t include the budding star.

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic:

 

The focus now around the league is the future of Kyle Lowry.Shams told Stadium during their trade deadling show. “The Raptors remain engaged with Heat and Lakers. Lakers offering Schroder and KCP package, with the Heat offering a (Duncan) Robinson-led package. The hold-up is the Lakers not offering THT and the Heat unwilling to include Tyler Herro.

 

While the Lakers’ current roster is more than good enough to compete for another championship, health has been an issue with both James and Davis dealing with injuries this season. Lowry would’ve been able to help the Lakers and both the short-term and long-term of this season, making him a solid fit if the Lakers could pull off a deal.

 

As the trade deadline came and went, with the deals continuing to come in even shortly after the noon deadline, all things remained silent for the Lakers.

 

Lakers
Photo Credit: Fadeaway World

There was no deal for Lowery or any other player rumored to be on the Lakers radar. While teams like Miami, Denver, Portland, Golden State, Houston, and the Clippers made deals, the Lakers stood pat. Adding Lowery would have been a very nice piece to a loaded roster, but like Schroder, Lowery is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of this season.

The Lakers will now turn to lock up Schroder long-term, something that the two sides have been working on all season, but haven’t be able to, yet.

Instead, they will turn to the buyout market, specifically Andre Drummond, to sure up their frontcourt and give them the depth they need. The defending champions have two roster spots to fill via the buyout market. Besides Drummond, Pelinka will also be looking to find a back-up guard, possibly former Laker Avery Bradley. Bradley was traded to Houston from Miami as part of the Victor Oladipo trade and is likely to be bought out, and could be a player Pelinka likes to complete their roster.

Whatever the Lakers do, they will be without James for another 4-6 weeks due to his sprained ankle. For a team that is treading water without their two superstars, the Lakers need to right the ship and maintain a playoff position until Davis and James return. Should they add Drummond, like many expect them to do, that will help, but Harrell, Schroder, Kyle Kuzma, THT, and Alex Caruso need to play with the type of energy and effectiveness they had with James and AD in the line-up.

 

 

The Lakers have to find a way to stay the course with LeBron James and Anthony Davis out for a few more weeks. By deciding to not make a deal at the trade deadline and using the buyout market as the way to solidify another title push, they hope the allure of winning a ring will be enough for a potential key contributor.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe Arrigo on Twitter @JoeArrigo

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