The struggling Lakers, losers of seven of their last 10 games, opted not to make any moves leading up to the NBA trade deadline. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), Los Angeles will instead look to the buyout market to shore up their club.
Underperforming Lakers wing Talen Horton-Tucker, who had been considered L.A.’s most logical trade chip, will now remain on the roster through at least this season. At 26-30, the Lakers occupy the Western Conference’s ninth seed, a far cry from their expectations heading into the 2021/22 season. Russell Westbrook, who is in the midst of one of the worst seasons of his career, will also remain with the team.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN adds (via Twitter) that, given that the Lakers currently possess a full roster of 15 players, the team would need to waive a player to make room for a new addition. Reserves DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore would seem to be the likeliest candidates for this.
Several other teams with postseason hopes opted to not make trades during deadline day:
- Another team that had high hopes heading into 2021/22, the 24-31 Knicks, opted to stand pat today, reports Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The team made two trades earlier in the season, including acquiring Cam Reddish from Atlanta. Fred Katz of The Athletic notes (via Twitter) that, though New York may have possessed some trade-friendly contracts, the team was unable to find a willing partner.
- A relatively loaded Warriors club elected not to make a deadline transaction, and currently boasts a 15-man roster identical to their opening night group, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Led by All-Stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, plus a returning Klay Thompson and Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jordan Poole, this revamped Golden State club has comfortably established itself as one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
- The Bulls, a top seed in the East with a very injured roster, decided to also not make any trades during the season, and will instead look to the buyout market to improve their depth, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Johnson adds (Twitter link) that Chicago never really wanted to move on from second-year power forward Patrick Williams this season. Johnson notes that Williams, who has been hurt for all but five games this season, could be returning from his wrist fracture as soon as mid-March.
- The surging Hawks, winners of seven of their last ten games, ultimately did not make any deadline-day moves, according to Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). The Reddish deal with New York ended up being their only move this season.
- The Timberwolves had several conversations around the league but ultimately could not find a trade that worked for them, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. With an exciting core of All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns, second-year shooting guard Anthony Edwards, and veteran point guard D’Angelo Russell, the team has developed into a frisky playoff contender. The front office will look to observe how the club wraps up the 2021/22 season. With a 29-26 record, the Timberwolves are the seventh seed in the West at present. Minnesota appears on track to make its first postseason berth since 2018.
- The 38-18 Grizzlies, the third seed in the Western Conference, did not make any trades at the deadline, per Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian (via Twitter). Led by All-Star starter Ja Morant, Memphis is already a particularly deep club with several players signed to reasonable contracts.
- In a bit of a surprise, the usually very-active Thunder are another team that decided to not make any compositional changes at the trade deadline this season, per the Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto (Twitter link). Oklahoma City is currently well below the salary cap and the minimum salary floor. The team’s cap space will still be in play in June before the new league year starts.