With limited options and financial flexibility, the Lakers were unable to make any moves before the NBA trade deadline at noon (PST) Thursday. Any additions to the roster will have to come from players bought out of their contracts.
Following a bad loss to the severely undermanned Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said the team would be looking for ways to get better and, if one presented itself, they’d make a move.
Those options never materialized, not with the three most-oft mentioned trade options all being flawed.
Russell Westbrook is one of the NBA’s highest-paid players at $44 million this season and can opt into his deal next season, making him untradeable except for a swap with Houston for John Wall, though the Rockets reportedly wanted the Lakers to include a future first-round pick. The team was also shopping 21-year-old Talen Horton-Tucker and guard Kendrick Nunn, the latter who has yet to play this season because of a knee injury, without much interest.
NBA insiders from multiple teams said they heard nothing in regard to a Westbrook deal, with Horton-Tucker’s name generating the most interest — albeit not much.
“Obviously this is something that’s weighing on this group that we’re all trying to get through,” LeBron James said of the deadline on Wednesday night. “Almost feels like it’s a fog, just fog in the air. And we’re all trying to see what’s on the other side of it.”
Turns out, it’s more of the same, the Lakers moving forward with James, Anthony Davis, Westbrook and the rest of their core, which has been depleted by injuries and COVID-19 protocols.