Lakers players may be chasing the NBA trade deadline

Welcome back to the latest version of Lakers Newsletter, as I’ll do my best to walk you through what the Lakers front office might be thinking as the trade deadline begins to roll out. It is a complex situation that is constantly changing.

what – The voice of Seinfeld – is the deal

There is a healthy bit of impatience in certain corners of the Lakers locker room as the team made it past the halfway point of the season without making any notable roster moves.

Despite a recent five-game winning streak and Friday’s win against Memphis, the Lakers are 21-25 and, for now, on the sidelines in the postseason race.

It did lead to some thumb manipulation.

In defense of the front office, the asking rates were widely viewed as unreasonably high—perhaps due to Utah’s mileage for All-Star center Rudy Gobert in the offseason. And the list of teams seen as sellers in front of potential buyers is dwindling — veteran-led teams like the Lakers, Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors are more or less in a playoff race rather than a playoff race as January enters. recent weeks.

All of this means that the options, at least even today, are either not great or very expensive.

This is why there is a healthy pessimism among a mix of scouts, executives, and agents that a big deal can be brokered.

There are still signs that the Lakers won’t trade each of their available first-round picks — at this point, a bit of a common sense revelation — unless an All-NBA player suddenly becomes available.

One deal that could be available is former lottery pick Cam Reddish, who has been out of the New York Knicks tournament for nearly two months. The Knicks initially hoped to retrieve a first-round pick they sent to Atlanta in trading for him, but league insiders now believe a second-round pick and an expired contract would seal a deal.

The Lakers have two contracts that allow this trade to work – Lonnie Walker IV and Kendrick Nunn.

Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn, right, controls the ball against the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 19.

Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn, right, controls the ball against the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 19.

(Rick Skutteri / Associated Press)

Despite some inconsistencies, Walker is better than Reddish and only a year older. He is recovering from a hamstring injury and will be back soon.

Nunn would be the most sensible option in the deal, but after missing all of last season and struggling through the early part of this season, he found his stride in January, hitting an 11-point average on 48.8% shooting and hitting 37.5% from three.

In the team’s heartbreaking losses against Dallas, Philadelphia, and Sacramento last week, Nunn was a combined plus-32. Against Memphis, Nunn was a plus-3 as he scored 11 points.

The Reddish has a better size and fits a real need for the suite, but there is no internal consensus that it would be an upgrade.

There is also another reason why the deal didn’t happen, and for the Lakers, it may be the strongest argument. If the Lakers replace Nunn with Reddish, they can’t replace Nunn in the pack for someone who will be more likely to make the Lakers more of a threat.

It’s the team’s biggest problem, as Lakers decision-makers grapple with the thinking “If we do this, we can’t do it later.”

The team indicated its preference not to enter into another long-term contract. The Lakers will draft $30 million or so in salary cap space this summer — not enough to fund a cap contract, but enough to put them in conversation for some of the best free agent prospects like Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Draymond Green. .

But the Lakers have come out of free agency empty-handed before. League scouts and executives also don’t view the free agency pool as particularly deep, which means teams can look forward to spending it now in the commercial market.

That’s why some people still see Detroit’s Bojan Bogdanovic as the perfect target for the Lakers.

Detroit Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic tackles a teammate during a game against the Orlando Magic on December 28.

Detroit Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic tackles a teammate during a game against the Orlando Magic on December 28.

(Duane Burleson / Associated Press)

The cost is high — sources in both conferences say the Pistons were looking for a good first-round draft pick and a young player in the trade. But Bogdanovic is a three-point shooter and scorer at 6-foot-7. He’s scoring a career-best 21.3 points and the Pistons clearly appreciate him.

While Bogdanovic is under contract for another two years and will significantly shrink the Lakers cap space, the team will likely have plenty of suitors if they need to deal with him to make room in case a superstar wants to play for the Lakers and . signed this summer.

It’s an option the Lakers would have with a player currently under contract and would be more complicated if the team dealt with a player on an expired contract due to salary cap restrictions and their impact on the Lakers’ ability to bypass Cap to re-sign their free agents.

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However, there will be competition for Bogdanovic – there isn’t a team in the league that isn’t looking for a winger to make up to 40% of their hat-tricks in high volume. And the Lakers have been reluctant to make a move until it becomes clear about the return of Anthony Davis from injury – which should come this week.

Decisions are complex, and potential ripples that affect which decisions to follow. That is why they move so carefully.

Memphis undercard

Shannon Sharp walks off the court after getting into a verbal altercation with Memphis star Ja Morant.

Shannon Sharpe walks off the court after getting into a verbal altercation with Memphis star Ja Morant and others during Friday’s match at Crypto.com Arena.

(Harry Ho / Getty Images)

Friday’s win over Memphis was a runaway win, Dennis Schroeder’s last-second steal and miss, and a missed free throw by Grizzlies forward Brandon Clark gave the Lakers an improbable victory to take the home win by five games.

It wasn’t the only excitement either.

The halftime show was hosted by former NFL star turned TV personality Shannon Sharpe, the Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant and father Tee Morant – all of whom engaged in the rare “celebrities on the court versus the entire city of Memphis” halftime argument.

It was silly — and a bit elevated after the game, as Times’ Brad Turner was in the visiting locker room to hear this gem from Brooks:

On Sharpe’s Tour: “I’m not talking about that. You can ask him. It’s the blogger or whatever. I don’t really care about all that. Next question.”

Blogger!

If a mustache reaction is appropriate for a fan: “Okay, normal like him? No. He should never have been back in the game. But this is Los Angeles.”

pedestrian!

When asked about it, LeBron James didn’t hesitate to pick sides.

“I ride with Shannon 365 days, 366 in a leap year, 24/7,” said James. “So, this is my man. So I will always have his back and he has my back. He can talk to the best of them for sure.”

song of the week

She and him – change is hard

A definitive commercial anthem just in time from the Portland-formed She & Him — sort of a super hipster duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.

In case you missed it yourself

Dennis Schroeder champs as Lakers end Grizzlies’ 11-game winning streak in action

Shannon Sharp gets into a heated argument with Ja Morant and others at a Lakers game

Lakers’ freshman Max Christie says he’ll learn from huge mistake late in loss to Kings

Elliott: LeBron James says the Lakers have been “very good.” He knows this isn’t good enough

LeBron James and the Lakers lost another close game as late mistakes cost the Kings

Lakers superstar LeBron James proves once again that he can defy time

LeBron James ends the Lakers’ losing streak with 48 points against the Rockets

LeBron James surpassed 38,000 career points in the Lakers’ loss to the 76ers

The Lakers remain optimistic while Anthony Davis and other injured players work towards a comeback

Elliott: LeBron James is doing his best to show restraint as the Lakers’ frustrating season continues

The Lakers can’t beat the Mavericks in a physical game, but rather fall in double overtime

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