Lakers’ Heated Rival ‘Were Close’ to Acquiring Malik Beasley & Jarred Vanderbilt: Report

Malik Beasley (left) and Jarred Vanderbilt

Getty Malik Beasley (left) and Jarred Vanderbilt

A Los Angeles Lakers heated rival reportedly almost acquired Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt before the purple and gold.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the March 17 episode of his podcast that the New Orleans Pelicans came close to trading for Beasley and Vanderbilt.

“The Pelicans were close to getting Beasley and Vanderbilt from Utah at the trade deadline,” Lowe said. “Or close-ish. They had a pretty good offer on the table. It was a draft equity-based offer with a pick that maybe was not as good as the Lakers’ pick they ended up trading, but pretty close I think from what I’ve heard.”

The Lakers acquired Vanderbilt and Beasley from the Utah Jazz for Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones and a 2027 first-round pick. Los Angeles also got D’Angelo Russell from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who received Mike Conley from the Jazz.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, traded Devonte’ Graham and draft picks to the San Antonio Spurs for Josh Richardson. Los Angeles has defeated New Orleans twice since the trade deadline: “That trade ends up helping the Lakers, helping the Wolves and the Pelicans don’t get involved in it and now they’re falling apart,” Lowe said.

Malik Beasley & Jarred Vanderbilt Have Been Solid for the Lakers

The Lakers are 10-6 with Beasley and Vanderbilt in the lineup. Both players have been solid additions to the team.

Beasley is averaging 11.8 points while shooting 33.9% from beyond the arc with the Lakers, while Vanderbilt is putting up 7.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Los Angeles needed a shooter like Beasley next to superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis and Vanderbilt has been an excellent swiss army knife for the LakeShow.

The Lakers are in 10th place in the Western Conference standings with a record of 35-37. The top six seeds in the conference automatically make the playoffs, while seeds 7-10 make the play-in tournament.

Malik Beasley & Jarred Vanderbilt Will Likely Be Back With the Lakers Next Season

Jovan Buha of The Athletic told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype on March 16 that the Lakers want to bring their current core players back next season. Beasley has a team option worth $16.5 million for 2023-24, while Vanderbilt will make $4.6 million.

“From what I’ve been told by my sources around the organization, they wanted to run this situation (current roster) back,” Buha said. “It’s looked good so far. They’ve won a lot of games. They’ve done a lot of winning without LeBron James. That’s something that’s kind of been under-discussed. The non-LeBron minutes were always an issue for the Lakers going back to his first year in LA and the championship season… This is my third season on the beat, and this is the best chemistry and vibes I’ve seen around the team.”

The Lakers have 10 games left in the regular season, beginning on March 22 versus the Phoenix Suns. Los Angeles head coach Darvin Ham told reporters on March 19 that he expects James to play again this season. LeBron, who is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists on the season, suffered a right foot tendon injury on February 26 against the Dallas Mavericks.

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