Ben Simmons is rejoicing but it’s back to the drawing board for LeBron James as the Lakers fell flat amid a frenzy of NBA trades.
Ben Simmons was the headline news but plenty of other major moves were made in the hours before the NBA trade deadline expired on Friday.
Simmons finally secured his wish of being traded from Philadelphia, as the 76ers sent him to Brooklyn in exchange for Nets megastar James Harden.
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There was attention on the LA Lakers to see if they would shake things up but despite a desire to make changes in the middle of an awful season — where they sit ninth in the Western Conference standings with a 26-30 record — their roster remains unchanged.
LeBron James said his team’s roster isn’t good enough to win a championship so change was clearly needed, but nobody else was buying what the Lakers were selling. Russell Westbrook in particular has been on the outer but will remain in LA.
Lakers vice-president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said after discussing possible deals with all other teams, nothing made sense to pull the trigger on.
“We were aggressive in a lot of conversations trying to improve the team — we always want to put this team in the best position to win a championship,” Pelinka said. “But ultimately we didn’t find a deal that had a net positive effect for the short term success of the team and the long term, and those are both things we consider.”
The lack of trades comes after the Lakers hit rock bottom with a disastrous loss to the 22-34 Trail Blazers, prompting former NBA star turned sportscaster James Worthy to call it the “lowest point of … any season I’ve seen as a Laker over the years”.
Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports wrote: “With how poorly the Lakers are playing, they probably needed a miracle at the deadline to save them. That did not happen, which has to be demoralising for the struggling franchise.”
The Athletic reported: “The Lakers were at a disadvantage as teams around the league saw them operating out of desperation, and wanted to force Rob Pelinka, the vice president of basketball operations, to take on bad contracts or spend what little draft capital the Lakers had left, including the 2027 first round pick, to facilitate any deals.
“At its core, the Lakers’ decision to stand pat at the trade deadline signals an acceptance of the team’s fate this season. There are fundamental issues with this roster, now 26-30 after a stunning loss to Portland on Wednesday, that were not going to be fixed with the addition of a fringe rotation player.”
Elsewhere, Dallas shocked the league by sending Latvian centre Kristaps Porzingis and a second-round draft pick to the Washington Wizards in a deal that pushed Spencer Dinwiddie and Latvian forward Davis Bertans to the Mavericks.
The Wizards also sent centre Montrezl Harrell to Charlotte for Ish Smith and Vernon Carey.
Spanish star Serge Ibaka went to reigning NBA champions Milwaukee Bucks as part of a four-team swap that also sent Marvin Bagley to Detroit, Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye to the Los Angeles Clippers and Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Jackson to Sacramento.
The Phoenix Suns, who lost last year’s NBA Finals to the Bucks, reacquired forward Torrey Craig from that 2020-21 team in a deal with Indiana for Jalen Smith and a second-round pick. The Suns also added guard Aaron Holiday from Washington in a deal for cash considerations.
Bol Bol, son of the late Sudanese NBA giant Manute Bol, and PJ Dozier — both sidelined by surgery — were traded from the Boston Celtics to the Orlando Magic with cash and a draft pick for a 2023 second-round pick.
The move was made to get the Celtics under the NBA salary cap and avoid a fine for exceeding the cap in three of four seasons.
The Celtics traded German guard Dennis Schroeder to the Houston Rockets with Enes Freedom and Bruno Fernando for Daniel Theis. The Rockets will waive Freedom.
Boston also acquired San Antonio guard Derrick White while the Spurs made a deal with Toronto, landing Slovenian guard Goran Dragic and a 2022 first-round pick in exchange for Thaddeus Young, Drew Eubanks and a second-round 2022 pick. Eubanks will be waived by the Raptors.
Originally published as LeBron James, LA Lakers lose big in NBA trade bloodbath