Ultimately, they left with the swap meet with nearly everything they brought with them, save for veteran guard Steve Blake, who was shipped off to the Golden State Warriors for fading prospects MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore.
For this dream-big franchise, moving just one piece when so many were reportedly in play felt like a disappointment. Now, word is leaking about just how close some of those other dominoes came to dropping.
According to Jake Pavorsky of LibertyBallers.com, the Lakers nearly pried guard-forward Evan Turner "and multiple second round picks" away from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Chris Kaman's expiring contract. ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne had reported the two teams discussing Kaman in the final hours leading up to Thursday's deadline:
Lakers engaged in discussions with Philadelphia on Chris Kaman, according to sources— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 20, 2014
Sources told Pavorsky that Turner and Kaman were the tip of the iceberg in the framework of an even larger deal:
The deal had the potential to go far beyond Kaman and Turner, as those within Thaddeus Young's camp believe he was involved in trade talks as well. Both the Sixers and Lakers were looking to be compensated with a first round pick, but were unable to find a third team willing to give up their top pick to make the deal work.
Nothing, of course, ever materialized between the teams. Turner eventually found his way to the Indiana Pacers in a last-minute exchange, Kaman returned to his oversized seat on L.A.'s sideline and Thaddeus Young was left to stick it out on Philly's gutted roster.
So, why does this rumor come to light after it's no longer possible?
Well, part of it's wrapping up a loose end by an inquisitive mind. If Shelburne's report of the rumored talks really piqued someone's interest, there may be some closure in knowing exactly what was discussed.
There's also some value on L.A.'s end by at least showing the fanbase its attempts to pull the trigger, even if nothing was ultimately done. The Lakers know their shopping bag was essentially empty after the deadline, so this is a chance to tell fans "Hey, we really tried to get something done, but it just didn't work."
That might not buy a ton of brownie points, but it's better than staying silent in the face of failing grades on nearly every deadline review.
"The consensus after the trade deadline passed was that the Lakers dropped the ball and were arguably among the most disappointing teams in terms of failing to make deals," LakersNation.com's Ryan Ward writes.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said after the deadline had passed that a changing climate in the league has made trades more difficult to execute, particularly when picks are involved.
"Everybody’s looking out for their own self-interests and everybody has an opinion, so consequently, it’s tough to make a deal – any kind of a deal," the executive said, via Lakers.com. "It used to be you could get a second-round pick pretty easy. Now they’re almost as hard to get as a first-round pick."
For all of the talk surrounding the team, maybe there simply wasn't an avenue to improvement available. Well, that or perhaps Kupchak got a little too greedy with his price gun.
The Lakers seemed as if they had some chances to bring in assets for the future, but then again, they almost landed a former No. 2 overall pick.
And let's be honest—almost-Evan-Turner might actually be L.A.'s best player, at least until Kobe Bryant's bothersome knee lets him lace them up again.