The Los Angeles Lakers were surprisingly quiet at the NBA trade deadline, but some of their former players were involved in major deals. Andre Drummond will now be playing for his third team in less than a year.
Drummond was involved in the blockbuster deal of the season between the Nets and 76ers. The former Lakers big man was traded by the Sixers along with Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and two first round picks to the Nets as part of the major deal for James Harden, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The 76ers also acquired Paul Millsap, a former All-Star who had previously been linked to the Lakers as a potential buyout candidate.
Former Lakers center Montrezl Harrell was part of his second trade since last summer. Harrell was traded to the Hornets for Ish Smith, Vernon Carey and a second-round selection, per Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. The big man was previously involved in the Lakers’ blockbuster draft night trade with the Wizards as Los Angeles acquired Russell Westbrook.
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The Lakers Will Focus on the Buyout Market
Despite plenty of rumors, the Lakers opted not to make a major deal. This means the Westbrook experiment will continue at least for the rest of the season. According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers plan to once again focus on the buyout market.
“No deal for the Lakers, source tells ESPN,” Wojnarowski tweeted on February 10. “They’ll focus on the buyout market.”
As the Lakers experienced last season with Drummond, buyout players rarely make a major impact on their new team. It will be interesting to see if the Lakers are able to sign any veterans who can help jump start the team after the All-Star break.
L.A. Could Still Look to Trade Westbrook This Offseason
This does not end the Westbrook trade talks, but it now means the star guard will not be able to be dealt until the offseason. Westbrook has a player option which he is expected to exercise to allow him to opt into the final year of his contract with a $47 million salary. Heading into the deadline, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported the Lakers were hoping to “rip the band-aid off” and deal Westbrook.
“I had a team source tell me today specifically what he would like to see done with the roster: trade Russell Westbrook,” McMenamin noted during a February 9 SportsCenter interview. “He told me, ‘We got to rip the band-aid off to be able to move forward this season.'”
The Lakers could have more success this offseason when they will be able to offer multiple first-round picks in any deal, not just their 2027 selection. For now, there are plenty of calls to remove Westbrook from the starting lineup as the Lakers attempt to make the postseason.
“I don’t think Russell Westbrook should be a starter for the Lakers now that he’s remained on the roster beyond the deadline,” CBS Sports’ Sam Quinn tweeted on February 10 after the trade deadline passed. “Even if he was contributing to winning now (which he hasn’t lately), the priority should be developing THT, Reaves, Monk and hopefully Nunn for next year.”