The Lakers and Clippers were both busy during the 2023 NBA trade deadline, with their roster shifts mirroring the relative levels of crisis in the corners of the Crypto.com arena.
The Lakers, 13th in the Western Conference and coming off of a loss that featured a shouting match between head coach Darvin Ham and guard Russell Westbrook, traded away six players before the deadline, and brought in five new faces in hopes of saving their season.
The Clippers, on the other hand, stand 6th in the Western Conference, and focused on depth and coverage at point guard, an area of concern for the team.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Rui Hachimura (from Washington)
- D’Angelo Russell (from Minnesota)
- Malik Beasley (from Minnesota)
- Jarred Vanderbilt (from Minnesota)
- Mo Bamba (from Orlando)
- Kendrick Nunn (to Washington)
- Russell Westbrook (to Utah)
- Damian Jones (to Utah)
- Juan Toscano-Anderson (to Utah)
- 2027 First Round Draft Pick (to Utah)
- Thomas Bryant (to Denver)
- Patrick Beverly (to Orlando)
Lakers non-moves: The Lakers did not trade their 2029 First Round pick.
The Low Down:
It’s not great for the Lakers right now. Their first 55 games were marred by injuries and chemistry issues. Star center Anthony Davis, fan-favorite Austin Reaves, and Lonnie Walker, all key members of the Lakers’ rotation, missed significant time. Despite LeBron James posting the all-NBA scoring and usage numbers (en route to breaking the NBA’s all-time scoring record), the Lakers haven’t found ways to win consistently.
They started their business on the early side, trading with the Washington Wizards for up-and-down power wing Rui Hachimura on January 23. Then, after missing out on James’ former teammate Kyrie Irving, who Brooklyn traded to Dallas, the Lakers shifted focus to removing Russell Westbrook from their locker room by trading him for Timberwolves guard D’Angello Russell. Westbrook struggled mightily last year in his first season in Los Angeles, and despite adapting well to coming off the bench this year, he never quite fit alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron.
In order to facilitate this trade, the Lakers packaged Westbrook with the rights to their 2027 first round draft pick, one of two that the team retained until Wednesday night. Many had speculated that James would have preferred the Lakers to trade both first round picks for a star, but with Irving in Dallas and the price for former MVP Kevin Durant far exceeding the Lakers’ two picks, James will have to be satisfied with the retool.
The Lakers also brought in the heavily memed Mo Bamba from Orlando. Bamba, who played well in limited minutes this season, was blocked from playing with the Magic, and was a prime candidate to find a new home.
The Lakers’ bench has seen about 50 percent turnover in the past two days, and they will have to gel quickly if they are to push up into the top-ten spots in the Western Conference for playoff position.
- Eric Gordon (from Houston)
- Bones Hyland (from Denver)
- Mason Plumlee (from Charlotte)
- John Wall (to Houston)
- Luke Kennard (to Memphis)
- Reggie Jackson (to Charlotte)
The Low Down:
Everything in Clipper-land is geared towards getting the most out of star wings Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and Thursday’s trades should be considered in that light as well.
The Clippers’ guard rotation this season has been quite inconsistent so far, with Kennard, Jackson and Wall especially all missing games. Their trade for Hyland, who had been sitting out games for Denver as he was on the trade block, brings health and dynamism to the Clippers where they had inconsistency and age. Hyland has made some of the most exciting plays in the NBA this season and, with the Clippers, he should expect more playing time and an opportunity to improve on his 12.3 points and 3.0 assists per game.
The trade for Plumlee, which happened just minutes before the deadline hit, reflects the Clippers’ inability to fill the minutes leftover by backup center Isaiah Hartenstein, who left the team in the offseason for the New York Knicks. Plumlee is a reliable veteran who should slide seamlessly into the Clippers’ second unit. This season has been Plumlee’s best so far, logging career best marks in points, rebounds and assists.
Along with Plumlee, the Clippers bench got more reliable with the addition of Eric Gordon, who can spell both Leonard and George at wing, defend and shoot from three at a high clip. This is Gordon’s second spell with the Clippers. The former Indiana Hoosier was drafted by the Clippers with the 7th pick in the 2008 draft, and he logged 180 games in Los Angeles from 2008-2011.
Clippers’ coach Ty Lue is known around the league for getting the most out of his players, and the new imports should offer him new strategic opportunities as he attempts to keep his team in the top-6 of the Western Conference and out of the play-in tournament.
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