The Los Angeles Lakers are 26-31 and sit ninth in the Western Conference. By any objective measure, this team has been a massive disappointment this year given the title aspirations they entered the season with.
On paper, one would assume that LA would happily accept any opportunity to improve. Especially if it didn’t require them to give up their lone real tradeable asset in their 2027 first round draft pick.
During a recent appearance on Brian Windhorst’s ‘The Hoop Collective,’ ESPN NBA insiders Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne broke down why the Lakers opted not to acquire Christian Wood from the Houston Rockets ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline last week.
“There was an iteration of the John Wall trade that included Christian Wood that would have involved more money,” McMenamin said.
“I’ve been told from other sources in Houston that there was a message that the Lakers were not willing to take on more money.”
Shelburne seemed to back that general sentiment up.
“That’s kind of the word around the league that the Lakers were making calls, if there was a trade that made sense, they would do it,” she said.
“I’ve heard it described as ‘maybe half-hearted efforts.’ They would do something if it was low-hanging fruit but they weren’t really willing to feel any pain, whether that was luxury tax money, whether that was more encumberment in the future, whether that was draft compensation. In other words, they called, they tried to do some things but there wasn’t a sense of the same kind of urgency I think you heard from the players the night of the Milwaukee game and especially after the Portland game.”
No wonder infighting has erupted between the front office and the Lakers’ two biggest stars. If this is the sort of effort that Rob Pelinka and Co. were putting into upgrading the roster, then it certainly would make sense for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to be frustrated.
Now that’s how you celebrate a Super Bowl win. https://t.co/ewns5NQxeA
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 16, 2022
The Lakers are currently one of six teams in the running for Goran Dragic. If they get him, maybe there’s some reason for optimism going forward. Should they fail, however – then this is the roster they will need to limp into the end of the season with.
And based on what we’ve seen from it thus far, it’s safe to assume that the ceiling here is at best an early first round exit.