Lakers’ Rumored Buyout Target No Longer a Possibility: Report

Lakers' Rob Pelinka and Frank Vogel

Getty Frank Vogel and Rob Pelinka speak to the media.

After the Los Angeles Lakers made zero trades at the trade deadline, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the franchise would try to add players via the buyout market.

The Lakers were interested in signing Goran Dragic and Tristan Thompson, but the former joined the Brooklyn Nets and the latter signed with the Chicago Bulls.

Los Angeles head coach Frank Vogel told reporters after the trade deadline passed that he believed in the group he had. The Lakers went 1-1 following the trade deadline. They lost to the Golden State Warriors and defeated the Utah Jazz.

“I think there’s just a natural reset energy to our group, knowing that the trade deadline has passed,” Vogel said on February 11, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “This is the group that we put together to start the year. This is a group we believe in.”

The Lakers went 27-31 in the first half of the season. They were 20th in net rating and sit in ninth place in the Western Conference standings.

To make matters worse, Anthony Davis suffered a right mid-foot sprain against the Jazz and needed help leaving the court. The Lakers announced the All-Star big man will be re-evaluated in four weeks, which means it will be up to LeBron James and Russell Westbrook to carry the offensive load until Davis gets back.

Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka spoke to reporters on February 10 and said he would be “aggressive” with improving the roster on the buyout market. While he has until March 1 to sign a player who gets bought out, Pelinka won’t be able to sign a point guard he worked with in 2020-21.

Lakers Won’t Get Dennis Schroder

Dennis Schroder was the Lakers’ starting point guard in 2020-21. He averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists in the regular season and 14.3 points and 2.8 assists in the 2021 playoffs versus the Phoenix Suns.

Schroder had an uncomfortable departure from Los Angeles. He turned down a four-year contract extension worth $84 million during the 2020-21 regular season and was forced to sign a one-year, $5.9 million deal with the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2021 since his value around the league dipped following his poor play versus the Suns.

It didn’t take long for Schroder to outstay his welcome with the Celtics, as he was traded to the Houston Rockets on February 10. After the deal went through, many pundits speculated that Schroder and Houston would agree to a buyout since the Rockets are one of the worst teams in the league and Schroder is better suited to play for a contender.

However, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Schroder is on course to finish the season in Houston, which means the Lakers won’t get him. The Athletic’s Bill Oram reported that the purple and gold explored the possibility of trading for Schroder at the trade deadline and were interested in bringing him back as a backup point guard via the buyout market.

Now that Schroder is unavailable for the Lakers, Pelinka will have to search deeper for another impact player on the buyout market.

Who Else Could the Lakers Look At?

The buyout market is still to be determined as teams finalize their rest-of-season plans. According to The Athletic, some of the top potential names that could make sense for the Lakers if they’re available include Gary Harris, Eric Bledsoe, Tomas Satoransky and Mike Muscala.

It’s worth mentioning that Bledsoe, who is on the Portland Trail Blazers, is close friends with LeBron and represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, the agent who reps LeBron and Davis.

It will be interesting to see who the Lakers sign via the buyout market. They certainly need all the help they can get.

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