After months of speculation the Los Angeles Lakers did not make any moves at the trade deadline and ultimately stood pat. Even though a big trade seemed to be off the table for weeks, fans expected the team to at least do something at the deadline to improve the roster.
Instead, the Lakers did nothing and will bet on this roster that has underwhelmed thus far. Lakers fans were instantly shown how bad of a decision that might have been on Thursday night, as the Lakers were not even able to win on Kobe Bryant statue night. The Denver Nuggets took care of business against the Lakers in a game where they never truly were in danger.
Prior to the deadline, it was speculated that the Lakers would be inactive that way the team could make a bigger trade in the following offseason. That story already has more legs, as the Lakers have been tied to more stars than just Donovan Mitchell.
Kyrie Irving joined the Mitchell buzz because he will be tied to the Lakers as long as LeBron James is on the roster. That is unlikely and was the least problematic of the two reported new targets. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers also may have their eyes set on Atlanta's Trae Young.
"Moving forward, the Lakers plan to use the three picks that they will have available this summer — 2031, 2029 and either 2024 or 2025, depending on which pick the New Orleans Pelicans choose to receive as part of their return for 2019’s Anthony Davis trade — to pursue a star via trade,” Jovan Buha wrote. “Three potential targets are Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young and Kyrie Irving, according to team and league sources. The Athletic has previously reported on the franchise’s interest in Young and Irving"
Lakers tied to Trae Young after trade deadline inactivity
Trae Young is someone who has been in the Lakers' crosshairs for quite some time now. There have been some preliminary reports that the Lakers were at least monitoring Young's situation in Atlanta, so this does not come as any surprise to those who have followed the team closely.
This offseason also feels like the most likely time for Young to be traded after the disaster that has been the 2023-24 season. Atlanta simply has not been as advertised with Young and Dejounte Murray and the team could do a 2022 Jazz-like tear-down where they restart from scratch.
Even though he is an all-star and a big name in today's game, the Lakers should stay far away from trading for Young. There is a reason why the Hawks have struggled, after all, and a reason why the team might be okay with moving on from him during the offseason.
Young is a fun offensive player and when he is right it can be really great to watch. The problem is that he demands a high usage rate, does not play a lick of defense, and isn't all that efficient. Young plays AAU highlight basketball, not winning basketball.
Trading all of the team's remaining assets and taking on that kind of contract for a guy who does not really equate to winning would be a horrendous move for the Lakers to make. Not to mention that the trade itself would likely include both Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, which makes the roster worse as well.
We already saw this song and dance with Russell Westbrook. Sure, Young is younger and he is a better shooter but the same ball-sharing issues that existed with Russ would exist with Young. That is not something the Lakers should be hitching their wagon to if they want to win another championship.