Lakers Trade Rumors: Reviewing Latest Chatter on 2018 Deadline Day

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2018

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Magic Johnson talks with Rob Pelinka before the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves during the preseason game on September 30, 2017 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Sometimes, the best move is no move at all. That might be what the Los Angeles Lakers are thinking for Thursday's NBA trade deadline, per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

"I think the sense that I was getting and talking to both the Lakers and the teams around the league who were talking with the Lakers is they don't seem to have this incredible sense of urgency to make any trades right now," she said, per ESPN Los Angeles.

Once starry-eyed by the prospect of landing LeBron James during free agency this summer, the Lakers were taking all calls looking to move Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.

They were even bold enough to swing for the fences by trying to unload Luol Deng and his bloated contract.

CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 7:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots the game winner in overtime against Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves on February 7, 2018 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly
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But that idea began to unravel like a ball of yarn.

To start with, Los Angeles couldn't secure the right deal for Randle or Clarkson. There were mentions of first-round picks, but that didn't cut the mustard. They also needed to get expiring contracts to free up enough cap space for two max deals.

Nobody bit, though.

As if those roadblocks weren't enough, getting James in July seemed to be more of a wish in one hand and something else in the other scenario. The four-time MVP reportedly won't sign with a team that doesn't have another superstar in place and the Lakers don't have one.

DeMarcus Cousins was on Los Angeles' radar, but that changed quickly after he suffered a gruesome Achilles injury. They'd also hoped to call hometown-kid-made-good Paul George back to southern California, but he seems to have changed his mind about playing for the team he grew up rooting for in favor of remaining Russell Westbrook's sidekick in Oklahoma City.

That means there's nothing to be gained by shooting for free agency this summer.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 6: Josh Hart #5, Lonzo Ball #2, Kyle Kuzma #0 and Larry Nance Jr. #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers sit on the bench during the game against the Phoenix Suns on February 6, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO U
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Which is why the Lakers reportedly chose to start making mental chess moves for the 2019 free-agent class, per ESPN's Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski.

Few front offices in professional sports exercise patience, but that strategy may pay off for Magic Johnson.

It gives the organization more time to make the deals necessary to clear cap space, and it gives them more time to see their own hand, namely what assets they have in young players such as Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma.

Going into Thursday night's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers are 22-31 and have been on a roll, winning 10 of its last 14 games.

Additionally, the consolation prizes in next summer's free-agent class are very good: Minnesota Timberwolves' Jimmy Butler,  San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard and Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson.

Los Angeles has every right to hold its cards close to its vest and let everyone else play their hand as the clock expires on trades on Thursday, but there's still always a chance they'll make a deal, however big or small.

The latest salvo in the rumor mill has the Lakers at the top of the list to land the Phoenix Suns' Marquese Chriss, per Steve Kyler for Basketball Insiders.

Steve Kyler @stevekylerNBA

For what it’s worth, seems the Phoenix Suns are looking at deals involving Marquese Chriss. Several teams seem to be involved, with the Lakers being considered the Favorites.

Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough quickly denied that report via his weekly radio show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

"We believe in Marquese, we like his talent, we like his potential," McDonough said (h/t Scott Bordow of AZCentral.com). "I'm not sure where that (report) comes from given that really nothing with Marquese has been discussed. I don't see anything there happening."


All stats accurate as of February 8 and courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.comMaurice Bobb covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @ReeseReport.