The Trade Deadline has come and passed. Once again, it was a complete dud. The Lakers and Clippers didn’t make any major moves, as was previously anticipated. How anticlimactic.
The Lakers, who traded Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors last night, failed to make any moves today despite being in “active” trade talks for most of the day. The team had held conversations with other teams regarding Pau Gasol, who is still somehow a Laker, Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman; however, none of those potential trades came to fruition.
It’s amazing that the Lakers, who are only about $5 million over the salary cap, didn’t use this opportunity to shed salary and get themselves under the cap. Once again Mitch Kupchak and Jimmy Buss proved that they are playing checkers and not chess. By not moving any salary the Lakers may end up in the “repeater” category, which will drive up their luxury tax payments for years to come.
It’s also amazing that Pau Gasol is still a Laker. He’s like a cat. Or maybe two cats. The Spaniard has had 18 lives in Los Angeles and has never actually been traded. How many thousands, or maybe millions, of words have been written about Pau Gasol’s trade value and potential destinations? The Lakers front office had the opportunity to shed Gasol’s salary and, perhaps, grab a first rounder out of the deal. Now, obviously, Gasol will continue to be a Laker for the rest of the season.
There is one bright light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to Gasol. The Lakers now have one of the most valuable sign-and-trade candidates in the offseason. Gasol is unlikely to re-sign with the Lakers in the offseason, but it is possible to get value for him yet. As for the other Laker trade candidates, Hill and Kaman will be Lakers for the rest of the season and will not be re-signed by the team. The Lakers failed to do anything of value, once again.
The Clippers made two small, insignificant deal at the deadline when they traded Antawn Jamison to the Atlanta Hawks in a move that will save them $2 million of luxury tax money and Byron Mullens to the Philadelphia 76ers for a second round pick. These moves are not really noteworthy because it seems, at this time, they haven’t taken back any players of serious value.
The Clippers made a huge mistake at the deadline, also. Spencer Hawes, the 76ers Center, whom we have been suggesting the Clippers acquire, was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in return for Earl Clark, the former Laker, and two second round picks. The Clippers should have pursued Hawes more aggressively and matched or exceed Cleveland’s offer. In order for the Clippers to have a legitimate shot at competing in the Western Conference they needed to acquire a third big man to pair with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. That opportunity has come and passed.
Clippers discussing Darren Collison, Willie Green and Matt Barnes for Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton, league source tells Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2014
However, that trade fell through at the last minute as both the Knicks and Clippers decided to stand pat. This trade would have helped the Clippers in a small way, due to Shumpert’s excellent defense and outside shooting; however, he injured his knee last night and I don’t think the Clippers wanted to take the risk, which is probably the smart move.
All in all the trade deadline was a complete dud. The Clippers and Lakers both failed to execute their plans and gained nothing by standing pat. The Lakers failed to get into a better tanking position, didn’t shed salary and couldn’t acquire a second first round pick this season. The Clippers did nothing to improve their chances of competing for a Western Conference title. All in all I am going to give both teams a C- for their efforts at the deadline.