The NBA trade deadline has officially come and gone with the Los Angeles Lakers making a lot noise from start to finish. There was no question that this was going to be a busy day for the Lakers organization, but no one anticipated some of the moves that went down with a big-name heading elsewhere.
Besides Monta Ellis being dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks from the Golden State Warriors, no superstars or superstar caliber talent changed teams at the deadline. Despite the lack of big-names like Pau Gasol, Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard or Deron Williams, there were plenty of deals that went down that will have some impact on the second half of the season and the foreseeable future.
Here is a breakdown of the moves that the Los Angeles Lakers made before the deadline:
Ramon Sessions Trade: Lakers send forwards Luke Walton, Jason Kapono, and 2012 first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for guards Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga.
Impact: This deal was without a doubt the biggest deal of the day for the Lakers as they were finally able to bring in a young and talented point guard in Sessions. The addition of Eyenga was more of added bonus for Los Angeles and might turn out to be a steal at shooting guard.
Verdict: Not only does this deal immediately make the Lakers a better squad in the backcourt, but the trade helped clear the ridiculous contract of Luke Walton ($5.8 million next season). Along with shedding Walton’s large contract, the Lakers were also able to ship out Jason Kapono who has had no impact this season coming off the bench.
Derek Fisher Trade: Lakers send guard Derek Fisher and a 2012 first-round draft pick to the Houston Rockets in exchange for forward/center Jordan Hill.
Impact: Lakers fans are bound to be devastated by this move and will ultimately miss the clutch shots and leadership that Derek Fisher provided during his time in Los Angeles. Despite losing a Lakers legend, the team will only get better from here on out. The Lakers also have gotten rid of Fisher’s contract ($3.4 million this season, player option next season). This was clearly a move to save money.
Verdict: It is easy to understand why the Lakers would look to save money from here on out with $17 million due in luxury tax if they kept the same roster intact this season. It’s always hard to see a player like Fisher go, but it was bound to happen and the Lakers will improve as a result.
There was a lot of talk and trade speculation surrounding the additions of Jamal Crawford and Michael Beasley, but nothing came to fruition on either player before the deadline.
So despite trading away one of the most-liked Lakers over the majority of 20 years, Los Angeles came out like bandits today and will be a much improved basketball team from here on out. Now the team can focus on making a run at the playoffs with no distractions and a considerable upgrade at the point guard position.