After much speculation, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to stand pat at the trade deadline, not making a move to shake up the roster.
The Lakers were linked to multiple players before the trade deadline, but the most substantial talks involved veteran Danny Green and 24-year-old forward Kyle Kuzma. One of the most notable rumors had both players going to the New York Knicks in a move that would have brought Marcus Morris to the Lakers.
Ultimately, the team never made a deal, with the Knicks reportedly raising the asking price to Kuzma, Avery Bradley, DeMarcus Cousins and at least one second-round pick, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Before the deadline passed, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel expressed confidence in his roster, and rightly so, with LA leading the Western Conference standings at 39-12.
“I think it’s just part of this time of year, it just comes with the territory of being an NBA player, NBA coach, NBA front office — we’re going to do our job,” Vogel said, per Lakers Nation. “If there’s ways to improve our team, like every other team in the NBA, if there’s a way to improve your team, you’re going to do it. If not, I know our team, we feel really good about what we have in uniform, on this roster.”
Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green Not Phased by Rumors
Players understand that the NBA is a business, and around the trade deadline, there’s nothing they can do about rumors. Green and Kuzma spoke with reporters about being involved in the trade talk.
“It didn’t really come across my desk,” Green said, per Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll. “I wasn’t really paying attention to it much. It’s probably the least stressful free agency or trade deadline I’ve had, because you can’t control that. So I just went through my day. I think we all went through our day normally and figured we’re all gonna be here, and lucky enough we are here.
“I believe in this group. I know the pieces we have are good enough, so we’ve just got to figure out our rotations, rhythm, chemistry, matchups and adjustments.”
Kuzma said previously that the trade talk consumed him, but he’s found a better way to cope now in his third year.
“I just play my role, come in, play with energy, crash the boards every time and when I get the ball, try to make the best of it. There’s no pressure,” Kuzma said. “The media people, they may try to make those extra pressures on you, but I trust in my teammates and I trust in what we’ve got going on here, and I just try to play my role.”
Lakers Miss on Darren Collison, Eye Other Options
While the Lakers didn’t make any moves, they were reported to be in the running to land free agent guard Darren Collison, who surprisingly retired in the offseason.
Collison is just 32 and could have been a key contributor, but informed teams that he was planning on staying retired. He averaged 12.5 points and 5.0 assists over his career and can be a 3-point threat as well. He shot nearly 47% from deep during the 2017-18 season, leading the league. He shot over 40% last season as well.
The Lakers are now weighing their options to add additional scoring going forward and a capable ball-handler for the second unit. Dion Waiters has been one of the more notable names of late, having recently been waived by the Memphis Grizzlies following a trade from the Miami Heat.