Lakers’ Jarred Vanderbilt Sends Strong Message After Loss to Rockets

Jarred Vanderbilt, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Jarred Vanderbilt, Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers fell to defeat against the Houston Rockets on March 15, in what was a tough blow to their chances of qualifying for the playoffs without the need for the play-in tournament.

When speaking to the media following the game, Jarred Vanderbilt was blunt in his assessment, declaring how the Lakers’ can’t afford to drop any more winnable games, especially with the season in its final few weeks.

“We just gotta play the game like it’s our last,” Vanderbilt said. “We’re running out of time. We got what, like 12 games left? We have no more freebies. I mean, we never had none, to begin with. We need all these games. We need to win as much as possible, especially ones like tonight. Against teams that aren’t even fighting for playoff position. Especially Western Conference teams. We need to win those games.”

With this loss, the Lakers now sit 10th in the Western Conference, two games out of the sixth seed, which is currently occupied by the Golden State Warriors, and half a game ahead of the Utah Jazz, who are hot on their heels.

Lakers Want to Keep Austin Reaves on New Contract

According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Lakers plan on keeping Austin Reaves beyond this season, which would entail agreeing on terms of a new contract, as he is set to become a restricted free agent this summer.

“Both Austin Reaves and the Lakers want to get a deal done, I’ve been told,” Scotto wrote. “With that said, I’ve also heard multiple teams have Reaves on their free agency radar. The Lakers can offer him up to four years, $50 million. Something to keep an eye on, in my opinion, would be a Talen Horton-Tucker type of contract that could make sense for both sides with a two-plus-one (two years guaranteed and a third-year option). I think the mid-level exception is his floor. Other teams don’t mind being used as leverage against the Lakers as a big market team. Reaves has played well as a lead facilitator and an efficient scorer for the second unit.”

Reaves has become somewhat of a fan favorite since making his debut for the team last season and is an integral part of the Lakers rotation, averaging 11.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 51.1% from the field and 38.5% from deep in 52 games thus far.

Lakers Have a Change of Heart on Kyrie Irving

The Lakers have been linked with a potential deal to acquire Kyrie Irving since the off-season, yet, despite their best efforts, the purple and gold have failed to acquire the superstar guard on two separate occasions.

Now, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers are unlikely to try for a third time, with the front office happy with the current roster construction since their flurry of deals at the February 9 trade deadline.

“From what I’ve been told, they’re not going to be pursuing Kyrie Irving this offseason,” Buha said. “To my knowledge and to what I’ve been told, the Kyrie ship, I think, has sailed. You never want to say never. That could easily change, but as of right now, their plan is to run this (team) back.”

The Lakers will be back in action on March 17, when they face off against the Dallas Mavericks, as they bid to get their season back on track at the first time of asking.