The Los Angeles Lakers were very active at the trade deadline, making more trades than any other team and having the biggest roster overhaul as a result. Overall, Los Angeles was able to get both younger and more talented, which is always a good thing.
Most fans and analysts agree that this was a great deadline for Los Angeles and is giving the team its roses as a result. Heck, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer even ranked the Lakers sixth in his latest NBA power rankings after the moves they made. It is that serious.
While there is a lot of love going around for what the Lakers did at the deadline this year, there is one overlooked aspect of the deadline that deserves immense praise. It seems small, but it has implications larger than just this season.
Trading Damian Jones is the overlooked Lakers move that deserves praise.
It is not hard to see why Jones’ departure is getting swept under the rug as it was part of the massive Russell Westbrook trade that ended up being a heist for Los Angeles. There were so many moving parts in that trade that Jones became an afterthought.
That does not change the fact that getting him off the roster was the best thing possible for the Lakers. Jones failed to live up to expectations for the Lake Show this season and was simply filling a backend roster spot for no reason as he was not part of the rotation.
But what makes moving him so great is because he was the only minimum player that the Lakers signed for two years in the summer. Jones signed a two-year, $4.885 million contract with the Lakers in the offseason with a player option for the second season that he certainly was going to accept.
On the surface, a $2.55 million cap hit may not seem like the end of the world for the Lakers but it would have been a wasted roster spot and wasted cap space. Moving him gives the Lakers one more veteran minimum player to sign in the offseason, or perhaps allows the team to slightly bump a free-agent offer to keep someone from signing with another team.
It is small moves like this that make a difference because if Jones was not traded at the deadline, the Lakers probably would have offloaded a future second-round pick (like they did with Marc Gasol) to get him off the roster over the summer.
The Los Angeles Lakers traded Thomas Bryant at a premium price and fans can thank DeAndre Jordan for being such a bad backup in Denver.
Los Angeles doesn’t have to do that now, making this a win for the team that should not be overlooked.