The trade deadline passed on Thursday, and the Lakers’ roster mostly looks the same.
Pau Gasol survived yet another round of trade discussions and will remain a Laker. Jordan Hill also will stay on the team despite the Lakers holding various conversations with the Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns about shipping them. Same with seldom-used center Chris Kaman.
But with the Lakers nearly guaranteed to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2005, they hardly took the steps they hoped leading into the deadline in making the first steps toward a significant rebuilding process. The Lakers walked away from the trade deadline without any additional draft picks for this year’s star studded class. Nor did the Lakers fall below the luxury tax threshold, a move that could’ve helped them avoid the so-called “repeater’s tax.”
The Lakers traded Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors Wednesday night for two seldom-used point guards in Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks, a cost-cutting move that saved the Lakers about $4 million in combined salary and luxury taxes. But the Lakers’ payroll remains at $76.9 million and the luxury tax threshold stays at $71.7 million. That leaves the Lakers vulnerable for the repeater tax, a penalty that applies to teams that spend over the luxury tax in four of five seasons since the NBA’s new labor deal was constructed in 2011.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has said such cost-cutting measures were hardly a “driving force.” The Lakers had talked with Gasol to the Phoenix Suns, but they were only intent on shipping him if it entailed receiving draft picks. The Lakers had no interest in ridding Gasol’s $19.3 million million contract without any additional assets.
Still, the Lakers only have one first-round pick, their first since 2007.
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