As the trade deadline approaches, the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be active as they look to add pieces for a postseason run.
One of the most notable needs for the Lakers is a ball-handling guard to run the second unit and direct the offense when LeBron James is on the bench. An assumed target for the team has been veteran Derrick Rose, who is having a career revival in Detroit with the Pistons.
The 2011 NBA MVP is averaging 18.6 points and six assists in 26.3 minutes, showing off a skillset that would be a huge asset to the Lakers.
Meanwhile, the Pistons are just 17-29 and are expected to make moves to rebuild at the trade deadline. The 31-year-old Rose, who is on a modest two-year deal, probably wouldn’t be part of that equation.
But despite the team’s rumored interest in Rose, the Lakers were not ready to pull the trigger on a deal that included fan-favorite guard Alex Caruso, a second-round pick and salary filler, according to ESPN’s Jorge Sedano, who revealed the Lakers turned down the trade during a radio segment on the Mason & Ireland Show.
This came during the segment in which trade ideas were thrown out, and it was explained that there were rumblings the Lakers said no to the offer of Caruso, a second-round pick and salary filler.
“I’ve heard rumblings that the Lakers said no to that,” Sedano said.
He proceeded to explain that it was not confirmed, but that he’s heard the rumblings.
“I’ve heard that – not confirmed from anyone, I’ve just heard through hushed tones and whispers.”
While Caruso is averaging just a shade over five points in nearly 19 minutes per game, he’s been a key piece for the Lakers’ second unit with his hustle and defensive prowess. And there’s no doubt the “Bald Mamba” is a fan-favorite in LA, with the Lakers faithful loading up with Caruso on their NBA All-Star ballots.
Pistons Reportedly Seeking First-Round Pick for Derrick Rose
Sedano’s insight would be contrary to another report that emerged from The Athletic that said the Pistons were seeking a first-round pick for Rose. That’d be quite the haul for the Detroit for an aging guard with an injury history, but Rose has shown quite the pep in his step of late, impressing his teammates.
“D-Rose is special,” his Pistons teammate Christian Wood told MLive. “For the first time playing with him, being on the court with D-Rose, I see some of the things people talk about. He’s special. He’s special when he gets downhill, his reverse layups. He’s an All-Star.”
Rose has scored 20 or more points in 13 of his last 14 games, shooting around 50 percent from the field.
LeBron James: Lakers ‘Have Enough’ to Compete for Title
While the Lakers could use a few pieces, they have certainly done damage with the roster they have, racing out to a Western Conference-best 36-9 record.
“We have enough right now,” LeBron James said, via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. “But it’s not about competing and worrying about June, it’s about worrying about January. And if we continue to get better throughout January and we move on to February and continue to get better.
“We’re a really good team but we’re not a great team yet,” James added. “And we shouldn’t be. We’ve just now been put together in September. And from September to now, we’re a better team. And if we continue this trend, then we’ll put ourselves in a position where we can compete for a championship and have a chance. And in this league and in sports in general, all you want is a chance.”
The Lakers will wrap up a five-game road trip in Philadelphia on Saturday before heading back to Staples Center to take on the Clippers.