No trade for Lakers before NBA deadline; next is the buyout market
With limited options and financial flexibility, the Lakers were unable to make any moves before the NBA trade deadline at noon PST Thursday. Any additions to the roster will have to come from players bought out of their contracts.
Following a bad loss to the severely undermanned Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said the team would be looking for ways to get better, and if one presented itself, they’d make a move.
Those options never materialized, not with the three most-oft mentioned trade options all being flawed.
Russell Westbrook is one of the NBA’s highest-paid players at $44 million this season and can opt into his deal next season, making him untradeable except for a swap with Houston for John Wall, though the Rockets reportedly wanted the Lakers to include a future first-round pick. The team was also shopping 21-year-old Talen Horton-Tucker and guard Kendrick Nunn, who has yet to play this season because of a knee injury, without much interest.
Mavericks reportedly trade Kristaps Porzingis to Wizards
The Dallas Mavericks have reportedly broken up their star duo by trading 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards for forward Davis Bertans and guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
ESPN reports that Washington will also receive a second-round draft pick in the deal.
Porzingis, the fourth overall draft pick in 2015 out of Latvia, was acquired by the Mavericks from the New York Knicks in a January 2019 trade to play alongside dynamic point guard Luka Doncic.
Porzingis is averaging 19.2 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting a career-low 28.3% from three-point range.
In other major reported trades around the NBA:
— The Charlotte Hornets will acquire Wizards forward Montrezl Harrell for center Vernon Carey Jr. and guard Ish Smith.
— The Phoenix Suns will acquire forward Torrey Craig from the Indiana Pacers for forward Jalen Smith and a second-round draft pick still to be determined.
— The Boston Celtics will acquire San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White for guard Romeo Langford, wing Josh Richardson and a protected 2022 second-round draft choice. Boston also acquired center Daniel Theis by trading point guard Dennis Schroder.
— Boston announced it traded guard PJ Dozier and forward Bol Bol, along with a future second-round pick and cash to the Orlando Magic in exchange for a protected 2023 second-round pick.
Associated Press contributed to this report.
Nets to trade James Harden to 76ers for Ben Simmons, draft picks
Brooklyn Nets star James Harden will be joining All-Star center Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers in a blockbuster trade for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round draft picks, The Times has confirmed.
Harden has reportedly been seeking a trade, and 76ers executive Daryl Morey, who brought the high-scoring guard to Houston when he was a rising star, was able to land the deal. Philadelphia will also get Paul Millsap.
The Nets, who along with the Lakers, were a preseason favorite to win the NBA title with Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving leading the way. Irving, though, balked at getting vaccinated and can play only road games outside of New York, where athletes must be vaccinated to play indoors.
Brooklyn (29-25) has lost nine games in a row while Durant has been sidelined with a knee injury. The Nets are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings before playing tonight at Washington.
The 76ers (32-22) have played all season without Simmons, who requested a trade in the offseason before sitting out training camp while citing mental health issues. They are fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, just 3 1/2 games out of first.
Times staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.
Clippers acquire Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeyele by trading Serge Ibaka
DALLAS — The Clippers are trading center Serge Ibaka, a former major free-agency signing whose tenure was marred by injury, to Milwaukee as part of a four-team exchange that will net the Clippers wings Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye from Milwaukee, according to a person with knowledge of the terms who is not authorized to speak publicly about it.
The trade, which also involved Detroit and Sacramento, will not net the Clippers any draft picks, the source said, but creates a traded-player contract exception worth $9.7 million, the size of Ibaka’s expiring salary, and streamlines the team’s center rotation.
Coach Tyronn Lue, speaking at the team’s shootaround Thursday morning, said he is looking forward to playing smaller lineups more often, though he could not discuss the trade specifically because it was not yet official.
Pelicans among teams making multiple-player deals before trade deadline
The New Orleans Pelicans have acquired guard C.J. McCollum from the Portland Trail Blazers as part of a seven-player trade, said two people familiar with the situation on Tuesday.
The Pelicans will also receive forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell in the deal, while the Trail Blazers get forward Josh Hart, and guards Tomas Staoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Didi Louzada, as well as draft compensation in the form of a 2022 protected first-round choice and two future second-round picks. The people spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been made official.
The trade marks the end of an era in Portland, where McCollum has been paired with Damian Lillard in the backcourt since 2013. Portland has reached the playoffs every season since they drafted McCollum. However, the Blazers struggled in the postseason, reaching the Western Conference finals only once while being eliminated in the first round five times.
The 30-year-old McCollum is averaging 20.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds this season.
Clippers poised to make more moves before NBA trade deadline
Having spent almost half an hour outlining the championship intent behind the Clippers’ latest trade, Lawrence Frank, the team’s president of basketball operations, left an interview inside their Playa Vista practice facility before stopping to talk with coaches and players as practice began. He then presumably returned to his second-story office and got back on the phone with other teams.
The NBA trade deadline was five days and four hours away, and the additions of wing players Norman Powell and Robert Covington from Portland aren’t expected to be the Clippers’ last.
“Roster building is very much ongoing,” Frank said Saturday morning.
In Frank’s five years guiding the front office at the deadline, the Clippers have a record of being extraordinarily active and that will continue as the team follows its overarching plan to build around its two best players in pursuit of a championship run when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George return from injury rehabs.
Newest Clipper Norman Powell thinks he’ll be a good fit with team
As the five-player trade between the Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers went through last Friday and Norman Powell’s surprise began to wear off, he received a text message from a former, and suddenly current, teammate.
By Sunday night, after Powell’s 28-point Clippers debut, that text exchange with Kawhi Leonard still was their only communication. Leonard, as he was during their title-winning season together in Toronto, remains a “quiet dude,” Powell said, smiling.
Powell believes he hasn’t changed much since they played together in 2019. His self-identification as a “grinder” is no longer only a personal mantra, but also the name of his fashion line.
To hear it from Powell, that desire to “prove every single night that I can hold my own against the best in the world” has helped make him a vastly different player since the last time he and Leonard were teammates.
What moves can the Lakers and Clippers make at trade deadline?
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, and the Lakers and the Clippers are actively seeking to make some moves. Los Angeles Times basketball reporters Dan Woike, Broderick Turner and Andrew Greif discussed their options.
DW: When it comes to the Lakers at this trade deadline, there are two distinctly different questions that they need to answer — what do they need and what can they get? In an ideal situation, the Lakers would look at the first 50-plus games this season and be able to pinpoint their needs and then try to solve as many problems as possible. The trouble is, the Lakers need a lot of help and have very little to offer in a trade, having dealt all their first-round picks through 2026.
AG: Adding Norman Powell and Robert Covington from Portland for their potential fit with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, in exchange for three players who had never played with both those All-Stars, was the Clippers’ first big move Friday. Another is almost assuredly coming given this front office’s active track record at the trade deadline. The 2022 free-agent class isn’t littered with big names, so adding Powell was akin to essentially adding a free agent the Clippers wouldn’t have been able to this summer because of their salary-cap situation. That move, like everything else that happens at or after the deadline, will be about strengthening the team’s championship chances in 2023 while also upgrading their roster in the short term.
BT: LeBron James was asked for his take on whether the Lakers should make a move by Thursday or stand pat. “Listen, I don’t really like to play fantasy basketball so this is the group that we have going into the deadline, and we’ll be ready to take on all challenges that this season has given us,” James said. “If there’s an opportunity — I’ve said this every year — if there’s an opportunity for you to get better, then you explore those options. That’s always been [my stance]. I’ve been like that my whole career. I’ve said it over and over. If you have an opportunity to get better, no one turns that down.”
Lakers hit another low point before trade deadline
With the NBA trade deadline approaching, frustrations are mounting within the Lakers about the current makeup of the roster — tough truths are being told as the Bucks led by as many as 30 in a brutal reminder of where the Lakers are 55 games into the season.
“It tells me we ain’t on their level,” LeBron James said. “I mean, I could have told you that before the game.”
Four quarters of basketball against the Bucks put an entire season’s worth of problems on display, a mismatched roster, a frustrated Russell Westbrook and a toothless defense showing the gap between the defending champions and the currently play-in bound Lakers.
The roster’s not working, an admission coming from sources inside the locker room that matches what the on-court product has shown through 55 games.