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Sport Lakers brass learns from past mistakes, lowers expectations ahead of trade deadline

23:15  06 february  2018
23:15  06 february  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

Isaiah Thomas on Lakers debut: 'I felt like I got my powers back'

  Isaiah Thomas on Lakers debut: 'I felt like I got my powers back' Lakers coach Luke Walton applauded Thomas's dedication to learning the team's playbook before finishing his first game with 22 points.The Lakers had their four-game win streak snapped in a 130-123 loss to the Mavericks on Saturday, but Los Angeles's newest point guard is optimistic about what his future with the franchise holds.

Lakers brass learns from past mistakes , lowers expectations ahead of trade deadline . It’s not that the former chiefs of Laker personnel, the duo of Mitch

That warranted a lowering of expectations ahead of Thursday's trade deadline . It’s not. That warranted a lowering of expectations . MORE: Lakers fined for Magic's comments about Giannis Antetokounmpo.

a man sitting on a table: Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka © (Getty Images) Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka

It’s not that the former chiefs of Laker personnel, the duo of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss, paraded around town announcing the greatness the franchise was about to achieve once they unleashed their winning personalities on unsuspecting star free agents. But the pair never did much to proactively tamp down free-agent expectations among the team’s fans. Instead, they’d make their pitches, then wait a few hours for stories to leak about how badly the meetings had been bungled.

Give some credit, then, to the new guard, Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson. Two days before the trade deadline (and five months before the start of free agency), they made certain to put out an altered outlook for the franchise’s future. Talk of the potential signing of LeBron James this summer, with either DeMarcus Cousins or Paul George beside him, had gotten heated enough in the last half-year that some in LA began counting it as a foregone conclusion.

Lakers take home-run swing at trade deadline, open door for LeBron James, Paul George

  Lakers take home-run swing at trade deadline, open door for LeBron James, Paul George It turns out the Lakers were not willing to wait another year. They have their eyes set on free agency this offseason — and on LeBron James and Paul George. In order to have a chance of courting James and George, the Lakers needed to create the cap space to sign two max contract players in the offseason. They have been attempting to dump contracts that would have them handicapped in their pursuit of both future free agents.In trading away Clarkson and Nance, the Lakers shed $14.8 million in salary ahead of the 2018-19 season. (Thomas and Frye are both on expiring contracts and unlikely to re-sign with the team this summer.

Some Lakers fans saw the team adding stars like LeBron James and Paul George this offseason as a foregone conclusion. It's not. That warranted a lowering of expectations ahead of Thursday's trade deadline .

Some Lakers fans saw the team adding stars like LeBron James and Paul George this offseason as a foregone conclusion. It's not. That warranted a lowering of expectations ahead of Thursday's trade deadline .

It’s not. That warranted a lowering of expectations.

MORE: Lakers fined for Magic's comments about Giannis Antetokounmpo

Thus, ESPN is reporting that the Lakers could well wind up focusing their attention not on the bustling free-agent class of 2018 — with James at the helm — but on the class of 2019, where disgruntled Spurs star Kawhi Leonard will be the big prize.

The big problem, so far, has been that the Lakers can’t find a way to clear out the cap space for this summer. The solution: just ahead of the trade deadline, they make the claim that they were never all that focused on 2018 in the first place. Ahem.

Consider it a lesson learned, one that goes back to the escape of Dwight Howard in 2013 and ran right through the Kupchak-Buss attempts to sign Carmelo Anthony and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Lakers made no promises in those days, but the team left open enough hope on July 1 that fans were crestfallen when the targets signed elsewhere a week or so later.

Clippers reportedly believe they have shot to land LeBron James

  Clippers reportedly believe they have shot to land LeBron James The Clippers are making moves ahead of the NBA’s Feb. 8 trade deadline with an eye on the greatest prize of all: LeBron James. While the Clippers agreed on Monday to trade Blake Griffin to the Pistons, they may not be done dealing. Multiple reports says the Clippers are also looking to unload DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams .The moves are part of the Clippers’ long-term strategy to make a run at James, who is expected to become a free agent this summer.

Some Lakers fans saw the team adding stars like LeBron James and Paul George this offseason as a foregone conclusion. It's not. That warranted a lowering of expectations ahead of Friday's trade deadline .

Some Lakers fans saw the team adding stars like LeBron James and Paul George this offseason as a foregone conclusion. It's not. That warranted a lowering of expectations ahead of Thursday's trade deadline .

This time, the Lakers are ahead of the story, making clear that the successful signing of James, George or anyone major would be as much a surprise to them as anyone else. This time, when the second week of July comes around, folks in Lakerland will either be ecstatic in their surprise that the team signed someone major, or eagerly looking forward to July 2019.

Johnson and Pelinka are buying themselves another year.

Of course, the reality is that nothing has changed for the Lakers heading into Thursday’s trade deadline. No matter when they are able to land a major player in free agency, they still have to contend with two years (after this one) of Luol Deng at $37 million and Jordan Clarkson at $26 million. No one is taking on Deng, and Clarkson could still be had for an expiring contract and a draft pick. The market for him as been limited, though, and if he can’t be moved, LA can’t give out two max deals. And there is still the possibility of moving Julius Randle along before he hits restricted free agency.

Cavaliers' 3-way trade for Rodney Hood, George Hill nearly ruined by Kings, report says

  Cavaliers' 3-way trade for Rodney Hood, George Hill nearly ruined by Kings, report says The Cavaliers, Jazz and Kings had agreed to a deal Wednesday night before the trade deadline, then Sacramento sent a memo at 3 a.m. ETHowever, the Cavs almost had their trade for Hill and Hood scuttled at 3 a.m. ET deadline day.

Lakers brass learns from past mistakes , lowers expectations ahead of trade deadline . NBA Trade Rumors: Paul George Could Join Rockets, Form Big 3 With James Harden, Chris Paul In Suggested Deal.

The Los Angeles Lakers ' desire for an active trade deadline sits in the gray area between a want and a need. With transparent plans to go whale-hunting in free agency, they would like to shed salary and increase their spending power

It’s pretty easy to decide that you’re not going to chase two top-tier free agents in the coming summer after the reality strikes that you might not have the money available for those two free agents, or that one is too risky (Cousins, with a torn Achilles tendon) and the other two (James and George) are perhaps not totally committed to coming. It’s like announcing that you quit just as your boss is filling out your pink slip.

There’s still a chance things could fall into place for LA in the coming days, or before the NBA Draft. But the Lakers have disappointed their fans, badly, in recent years. Pelinka and Johnson, at least, have taken the sting out of what could well be an empty summer, five months in advance.

NBA trade rumors: Celtics want first-round pick for Marcus Smart to flip for Lou Williams or Tyreke Evans .
The Celtics could be willing to part ways with Marcus Smart ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline if it helps the team add a scoring threat off the bench like Lou Williams or Tyreke Evans.Boston is seeking a first-round pick in exchange for fourth-year guard Marcus Smart in the hopes of flipping that pick for either Clippers sixth-man extraordinaire Lou Williams or Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. The Nuggets have looked into a potential trade involving Smart and made Emmanuel Mudiay available in a deal, per Stein, but the Celtics remain focused on acquiring a first-round pick.

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