The 2024 trade deadline was a quieter affair than many expected, with several the Los Angeles Lakers prominently featured—keeping their powder dry. Bill Simmons, one of the most respected people in sports commentary, wrote that the whole day was kinda boring, singling out the Lakers in particular as one of the major non-actors of the day.
Many have been left pondering the response from the prominent player on the team, LeBron James. The Lakers, under general manager Rob Pelinka, seemed to have chosen to stay put with their current squad - perhaps thinking they have a fair chance to bolster it in the buyout market instead of dealing for one that would have been problematic.
This may be seen as conservative, but it also might be viewed as calculated in an attempt to conserve the young talent and draft assets that the team has, particularly with the question mark of James' free agency.
Lakers' Strategy: Health First
He took the action against a mild backdrop of tension after James' subtle allusions to the need for team improvements to buoy their playoff hopes.
However, beneath those undercurrents seems to lie the strategy of the Lakers: that the team can imitate or even exceed their unexpected visit to the Western Conference Finals of last season, assuming all hands are healthy.
In discussing the struggles of his team, James placed the greatest emphasis on health, with the most recent injury to teammate Max Christie adding to the hardships of what has been a grind of a season for the Lakers. Inaction at the deadline might come as a surprise, but the Lakers can point to reasons for their options.
The buyout market could clearly be another good avenue for a roster upgrade to go for someone like Spencer Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie, though, has some special intrigue attached, with favorable endorsements from James and Anthony Davis and a hint, too, of a possible reunion from D'Angelo Russell.
"LeBron James heads the Lakers, and eyes will be on him in his stead as the skipper to lead by example with the next strategic choices across the post-deadline landscape. The coming weeks will prove critical in showing if the Lakers prove out the potential of the current roster and gain postseason success or let inaction at the trade deadline be considered in retrospect as an opportunity missed in the high-reward/low-tolerance world of the NBA.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis on what Spencer Dinwiddie could bring to the Lakers. When D’Angelo Russell was asked about what Dinwiddie is like, as a former teammate of his, said, “I’m a fan, but ya’ll get to know him soon” pic.twitter.com/tfIMruFC8w — Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 10, 2024