Failed Trade Could Have Landed Lakers 5-Time All-Star and Rising Big Man: Report

Rob Pelinka, Lakers GM

Getty Rob Pelinka, Lakers GM

The Los Angeles Lakers made zero moves at the trade deadline despite being an underwhelming team. The trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook hasn’t been as lethal as many predicted and the purple and gold are in ninth place in the Western Conference standings.

The three Lakers players heavily discussed in trade rumors were Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn. According to Bill Oram of The Athletic, several potential trades fell through for Los Angeles at the last minute since teams were asking for unrealistic returns.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the Lakers declined the Houston Rockets‘ offer of John Wall for Westbrook. The Rockets wanted the Lakers to give them a first-round pick in the deal and Los Angeles general manager Rob Pelinka said “no.”

Lakers fans can’t be mad at Pelinka since there wasn’t much upside in trading Westbrook and a future draft pick for Wall, who hasn’t played this season and has a worse career effective field goal percentage than Russ. However, Lakers Nation may be upset at Pelinka if ESPN’s Brian Windhorst’s report is accurate.


Lakers, Rockets May Have Discussed Westbrook, THT, Draft Pick for Wall, Christian Wood

According to Windhorst, the Lakers may have discussed a trade with the Rockets involving Westbrook, Horton-Tucker and a future first-round pick for Wall and Christian Wood.

“Another construct that could have been discussed, depending on who you believe, is Christian Wood and John Wall for that package,” Windhorst said on NBA Today. “Which would have been interesting.”

The Lakers should have completed this trade if it was discussed. They could have had a starting lineup of Wall, Malik Monk, LeBron, Davis and Wood. Acquiring Wall for Westbrook wouldn’t have moved the needle, but getting Wall and Wood may have since the latter is a rising star in the NBA.


Wood Would Have Helped Lakers on Both Ends

Wood is averaging 17.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 blocks while shooting 48.3% from the field, 36.9% from beyond the arc and 61.8% from the free-throw line this season. His length and athleticism would have helped the Lakers improve their defense since teams would have had to try to score over Wood and Davis, two stout rim protectors.

A California native, Wood has turned himself into a versatile offensive weapon. He can score in the paint and from the perimeter, shooting 71.6% at the rim and 36.9% from 3-point range. The UNLV product is like Davis in the sense that he can catch almost any lob and throw it down.

LeBron would have likely loved to add Wood since the addition would have given him another rim roller. Davis is the only big man on the Lakers who has had an impact on winning this season, as Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan have been mediocre when they have played.

Pelinka told reporters after the trade deadline that he tried to make moves to improve the roster. However, he didn’t “find a deal that had a net positive effect for the short term success of the team and the long term.”

It will be fascinating to watch the Lakers the rest of the season. LeBron and Davis are playing well, but Westbrook leads the NBA in turnovers and can’t make perimeter shots consistently. Wall and Westbrook are almost the same player at this stage of their careers, but adding Wood and Wall may have given the Lakers the boost they required to climb up the Western Conference standings.

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