Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka decided to shake things up at the NBA trade deadline. The first move the team made was acquiring D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt in a three-team deal that included the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Lakers sent out Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, and top-four protected 2027 first round pick to the Jazz and a future second round pick to the Timberwolves. This trade came after they attempted to trade for Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, who was ultimately sent to the Dallas Mavericks.
The second trade the Lakers made was sending Thomas Bryant to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Davon Reed and three second round picks. Bryant reportedly asked for a trade when his minutes were decreased once Anthony Davis returned from injury.
The third and final trade the team made was sending Patrick Beverley and a second round pick to the Orlando Magic for Mo Bamba. The official trade was reportedly a four-team trade that included the Los Angeles Clippers, Nuggets, and Magic.
The trade allows the Lakers to turn the page on the Westbrook era. The acquisition of the former MVP turned out to be a mistake for the Lakers and the partnership wasn’t a good match. Westbrook’s fit with LeBron James and Davis was doomed from the start and many knew the Lakers had to get rid of him one way or another.
Westbrook reportedly clashed with head coach Darvin Ham in their last game against the Oklahoma City Thunder according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The two reportedly made up after the game but that felt like the final straw.
The Lakers massively upgraded their shooting with the additions of Russell and Beasley after trading Westbrook away. Russell is coming back to the team that drafted back him in 2015. The former Buckeye is averaging 17.9 points, 6.2 assists per game on a career high 46.5% from the field and a career high 39.1% from outside.
Beasley is averaging 13.4 points on 39.6% from the field and 35.9% from three. Beasley is fourth in the entire NBA in 3-point field goal makes since the beginning of last season with 409, interesting stat for sure.
Bamba is another player who will help their outside shooting. Bamba is considered a 3-and-D big man that’s averaging 7.2 points per game and 39.8% from behind the arc. The Texas product had his minutes reduced for the Magic with the emergence of Bol Bol and will look to be a key contributor to the Lakers and filling the void left behind with Bryant shipped off to the Nuggets.
The Lakers additionally upgraded their interior and perimeter defense with Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt is considered by many in the media the steal in this Lakers trade. The former Wildcat is an exceptional defender that can guard the one through five positions. Vanderbilt has an extremely high motor and is considered an elite rebounder, averaging 8.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
The Lakers are in a desperate spot at the moment. The team is currently 25-31 and are 2.5 games behind the tenth seed for a play-in spot. The hope is that the new additions can help James and Davis pile up wins to give themselves a shot at potentially making a run at the playoffs. The Lakers have one of the easiest schedules remaining in the Western Conference to make up ground, this final push will determine how their season ends. These trades will definitely improve their chances as long as they stay healthy.
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