Report: Lakers officials say team didn’t make trade deadline move due to season being ‘beyond salvation’

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Some members within the Los Angeles Lakers organization have indicated that the team didn’t make a move at the trade deadline due in part to thinking the season was “beyond salvation,” according to Lakers Daily’s Anthony Irwin.

The Lakers, who lost forward Jarred Vanderbilt to an injury on Feb. 1, reportedly believed that Vanderbilt’s injury was season-ending, perhaps impacting the team’s outlook for the remainder of the season.

“Some within the organization have even explained that the Lakers’ inactivity at the deadline was due in part to thinking this season was beyond salvation after his injury — which they considered season-ending at the time,” Irwin wrote.

Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent and Christian Wood are all in danger of missing the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

Last season, the Lakers were active at the trade deadline, making multiple deals to acquire players like D’Angelo Russell, Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Rui Hachimura and Mo Bamba. Those moves helped the team earn the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, and the Lakers eventually went on to make the Western Conference Finals.

However, even after the success the team had by making tweaks at the deadline in the 2022-23 season, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and the rest of the front office opted to stand pat this season.

The team’s big midseason move was to add guard Spencer Dinwiddie after he was bought out by the Toronto Raptors, who acquired him in a deadline deal with the Brooklyn Nets.

It’s possible that the Lakers didn’t feel that there was an upgrade that was worth the potential cost in assets at the deadline, but it appears the team was also worried about its outlook due to the loss of Vanderbilt.

A defensive stopper for the Lakers, Vanderbilt missed the beginning of the season with a heel injury. He’s only played in 29 games overall this season, forcing the Lakers to rely more on players like Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish and Hachimura.

Los Angeles still has a chance to make a deep run in the playoffs – similar to last season – but it’ll need some players to step up if Vincent, Wood and Vanderbilt don’t suit up again this season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.