The Los Angeles Lakers are showing signs of life with a recent two-game winning streak, and that is a very good thing because there is no blockbuster trade coming to save them.
The reality of the landscape of the NBA trade market is that the long-speculated dealing of Pau Gasol will not happen.
The signs of this reality are quickly mounting. ESPN’s Marc Stein passed this along:
Even before Jim Buss' appearance Thursday on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles, there was a growing sense among those congregated in Reno (for the D-League Showcase) that the Lakers don't have another blockbuster move in them this season.
With the introduction of the following information from Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD, it is not surprising that the Lakers are unlikely to send out Gasol .
RT @jopatmc1967: ---> The Lakers want to break Gasol's money into three or four smaller pieces not one major asset. No roster room for that— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 13, 2013
Finding a trade that nets the Lakers three or four players for the 32-year-old Gasol is going to be a challenging task even in the offseason, but as the tweet mentions, it makes it nearly unimaginable before the trade deadline.
So, there will be no change of chemistry, a swift-moving power forward with an outside shot or added depth coming to the Lakers in a trade for Gasol. They are now relegated to adding players at the veteran's minimum.
As Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports, there is the possibility that the Lakers could apply for a disabled-player exception for Jordan Hill, who is out for the season with a hip injury, but he also notes that the "team was leaning against it" due to the fact they are already way over luxury-tax threshold.
So, for better or worse, the Lakers are stuck with this current group. This is a talented group, they now just need to figure out a way to play together.
With 44 games left, the 17-21 Lakers are 7.5 games out of the fourth seed, which would ensure them playing at least one series at home in the playoffs. That is a lot of ground to make up in 44 games.
However, the Lakers are just three games out of the eighth seed, and that is a far more realistic target.
Now, this group needs to find a way to gel and hit a winning streak, because there won't be any blockbusters to give them a boost.