The Lakers named Magic Johnson president of basketball operations Tuesday, and the five-time NBA champion didn’t waste any time trying to improve the organization. Johnson shipped Lou Williams to Houston on Tuesday night for Corey Brewer and a 2017 first-round pick.
It remains to be seen whether Johnson will try to make a big splash before Thursday’s trade deadline.
“I think that’s the big question,” Sporting News NBA writer Sean Deveney said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I’ve talked to several general managers before Magic came on board, and the feeling was they’re not trading any of (their) three prospects.”
Those prospects are 20-year-old D’Angelo Russell, 22-year-old Julius Randle and 19-year-old Brandon Ingram.
“I can’t see (Johnson) going out and pulling off a trade, but if they want to do something major, it’s going to require at least one of those guys,” Deveney said. “Again, I just don’t think he’s going to pull the trigger that quickly. I don’t think he’s going to do anything major. I don’t think the move is there right now.”
Brandon Tierney wonders if the Lakers might make a move for Carmelo Anthony. Yes, Anthony is a volume scorer on the decline, but there’s value in letting veteran absorb the spotlight – both good and bad – while young players develop, no?
“I would agree with that,” Deveney said. “If the Lakers somehow can hold on to their draft pick this year – it’s top-three protected or else they got to send it to Philadelphia – then after the lottery you start thinking, ‘Okay, well maybe we trade either one of the young guys if we have somebody in mind that we want with that pick, or we trade that pick and bring in a guy like Carmelo Anthony who can give us a focus while these other guys can make mistakes and slowly get better.’ And of course you’d have to convince Carmelo to waive the no-trade clause. I think that’s something he might do if he wound up with the Lakers.”
In other trade-deadline news, Deveney will not be surprised if the Pacers move Paul George, who has not yet signed an extension to remain in Indiana. George, 26, will be a free agent in 2018.
“He’s going to meet with other teams,” Deveney said. “He’s going to explore free agency. So if you’re Larry Bird, you got to consider, ‘All right, what are our realistic chances here? And should we pull the trigger?’ The Pacers, of all the teams in the league, they tend to operate with just about as much secrecy as anybody. So I would think there’s a chance that they could surprise everybody and move Paul George. I know a team like Boston, which has sort of hit a wall with the Jimmy Butler stuff, is very much interested and has reached out for Paul George. So yeah, that’s one that’s sort of been on the back-burner, but knowing the Pacers and knowing the way that they operate, that could be a surprise move at the deadline tomorrow.”