Los Angeles Lakers Trade Deadline Review
Now that we are past the trade deadline, teams have to close out the season with more or less what they have (free agent pickups not withstanding). That said, the Los Angeles Lakers quietly put together a very effective trade deadline, addressing some glaring needs in their roster.
The acquisition of Ramon Sessions will fly under the radar for some people, but to Lakers fans, it means finally getting some production out of the point guard position. Despite having the worst point guard rotation in the league by a comfortable margin, the Lakers only had to give up a mere pittance of a package: a lottery-protected first round pick, Jason Kapono, and Luke Walton. In addition to Sessions, the Lakers received Cavs sophomore, Christian Eyenga. With Lakers fans frustrated at management’s inability to move Walton’s toxic contract, they would have been content with simply having him off of the roster, so turning him into a contributing point guard is just icing on the cake. In Sessions, the Lakers get a point guard with a good head on his shoulders who won’t make highlight reels nightly, but will manage the game and get into the paint to create opportunities for himself and his teammates, taking some pressure to do so off of Kobe Bryant. While Sessions has not been a very good long-range shooter throughout his career, he is shooting over 40% for the season on increased volume, which is very encouraging, especially for a Lakers squad desperate for any help they can get from behind the arc. Christian Eyenga is an athletic wing player stuck with the dreaded “potential” label, which means he will likely have difficulty finding playing time behind Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes.
In the second of two deals, the Lakers were able to clear their point guard glut by sending Derek Fisher and a pick to the Houston Rockets for Jordan Hill. In a mostly financial move, the Lakers were able to shed some salary on their books while adding some youth and athleticism to an aging roster. Hill will have to compete with Troy Murphy for the job of backing up Bynum and Gasol and he certainly has an opportunity here to supplant Murphy as Murphy has been a defensive sieve all season long.
The second biggest need for the Lakers was an upgrade at small forward. Despite their aggressive pursuit of Michael Beasley through the trade deadline, no deal could be reached. Still, the trade deadline deals addressed far and away the Lakers’ biggest weakness, giving them a roster they can be comfortable with moving forward.
World Peace has shown that he saves his best basketball for May and June with impressive performances defensively against Kevin Durant in the past, as well as some Game 7 heroics against Boston. One can only hope that World Peace is ready to play more like Ron Artest come playoff time.