The Los Angeles Lakers were busy bees on deadline day.
It started with a trade for Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Ramon Sessions, who represents the point guard upgrade the Lakers desperately needed. And all it took to get him, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, was Luke Walton, Jason Kapono and a first-round draft pick. The Lakers also got forward Christian Eyenga in the deal.
In case you haven't quite figured out what all the movement means for the Lakers, I think Alex Kennedy put it best when he summed it all up on Twitter:
The Lakers turned Luke Walton, Derek Fisher, Jason Kapono and two first-round picks into Ramon Sessions, Christian Eyenga and Jordan Hill.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) March 15, 2012
In other words, three essentially useless players and some draft picks for some players they can actually use.
Despite all the fun times, much of the focus on deadline day was on a deal the Lakers didn't make. They had been rumored to be nearing a deal for Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley, but that deal didn't happen.
Kennedy noted that the deal was all in place, and that it just wasn't completed:
Deal that almost happened: Michael Beasley to the Lakers, Jamal Crawford and Derek Fisher to the Wolves, Steve Blake and 1st to the Blazers.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) March 15, 2012
Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com said it was all Minnesota's fault that the deal didn't happen:
I'm hearing the Timberwolves pulled out of the deal near the end, after Lakers and Blazers had agreed. Would have sent Fisher to Minn.— Scott Howard-Cooper (@SHowardCooper) March 15, 2012
Beasley would have been a good get for the Lakers. He's a young, athletic forward who would have given the Lakers some scoring punch out of the small forward spot, something that they've been living without all season long.
But oh well. The No. 1 priority on the Lakers' list heading into deadline day was acquiring a talented point guard, and they did that. The Lakers will have to keep living with a lack of scoring punch from their small forwards, but they can rest easy knowing that they now have a legit point guard who can drive, shoot and generally open things up at the offensive end of the floor.
Adding Beasley would have made things even sweeter, to be sure, but the Lakers' failure to acquire him should not be viewed as a disaster, nor should it be viewed as their fault.
The consolation is that the Lakers added frontcourt depth in Hill and Eyenga, which is better than nothing. Couple that with the fact point guard play will be a strength going forward, and it's clear that the Lakers did quite well on deadline day.
It all boils down to one very simple reality. The Lakers are a better team after the deadline than they were before it. They still don't look like clear championship favorites, but they definitely have a better chance of returning to the finals than they did before Mitch Kupchak went out and made all these moves.
If ever there was a time to give Kupchak a thumbs up, now is it. Goodness knows the man has had to put up with enough nonsense since the start of the season.