Lakers fans can rest easily. Duke star Jahlil Okafor is still a possibility.
The Lakers weren’t motivated to make any moves by Thursday afternoon’s NBA trade deadline, and they didn’t.
It shouldn’t be surprising. They wanted to hang on to their draft picks, particularly their top one, which they keep only if it winds up being a top-five selection. Otherwise, it was owed to Phoenix as part of the Steve Nash trade. The Lakers' incentive to win games the rest of the regular season was dimmed for the same reason.
The Lakers would have done something if it dramatically improved their team long-term, but it wasn’t close to happening because of their limited trade pieces.
The Lakers (13-40) own the league’s fourth-worst record and might slip even further. They have lost their last six games, 15 of their last 16, and hold an 11.9% chance at landing the top draft pick at the May 19 lottery.
New York has the NBA’s worst record (10-43), followed by Minnesota (11-42) and Philadelphia (12-41). Okafor, the Duke center, is widely considered the draft’s top prospect at this point.
The Lakers also own Houston’s first-round pick as part of the Jeremy Lin trade. It figures to be in the mid- to late-20s.