OKLAHOMA CITY >> The new job has prompted Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson to field numerous phone calls from numerous executives. None of those conversations yielded any blockbuster moves, but it still resulted in roster changes.
The Lakers acquired 22-year-old guard Tyler Ennis from the Houston Rockets for veteran guard Marcelo Huertas, according to The Vertical.
It remains to be seen what role Ennis might provide as a backup point guard after averaging a combined 3.5 points on 40.8 percent shooting with three NBA teams, including Phoenix (2014-15), Milwaukee (2014-16) and Houston (2016-17). But he provides more of a youthful presence than the 33-year-old Huertas, who averaged 2.7 points on a 36.8 percent clip in 10.3 minutes through 23 appearances this season. The Vertical reported the Rockets plan to waive Huertas.
The Lakers did not make any other moves on Thursday leading into the trade deadline that ended at noon PT.
Although the Lakers and Indiana Pacers had preliminary talks about acquiring small forward Paul George, sources familiar with the situation deemed it unlikely the Lakers would trade for George for two reasons. With Johnson recently deeming the team’s young core “untouchable,” the Lakers did not want to expend the majority of their assets to land a star player without an infrastructure around him. George, who grew up in Palmdale and starred at Knight High, has interest in joining the Lakers once he becomes a free agent in the 2018 offseason. Then, the Lakers could sign with while maintaining a young core of players that would presumably grow with an additional year of experience.
The Lakers also had considered trading veteran shooting guard Nick Young. Although he has averaged 13.8 points on 44.1 percent shooting under first-year coach Luke Walton, Young was considered expendable because for a few years. The Lakers wanted to collect another draft pick. His departure would have also opened up playing time for the rest of the Lakers’ young roster, including guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Brandon Ingram. With Young holding a player option on his two-year contract, the Lakers would have freed up to
With the Lakers (19-39) playing the Oklahoma City Thunder (32-25) on Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Lakers flew to Oklahoma City on Thursday morning around 10 a.m. PT and plan to have an afternoon practice there shortly after they land. Although this did not preclude the Lakers from making a deal before the trade deadline, Johnson and the entire Lakers’ roster traveled on the team plane to Oklahoma City. Johnson wanted to make the trip so he could watch practice, morning shootaround and Friday’s game in person, while also working with the team behind the scenes.
The Lakers had traded veteran guard Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday for veteran small forward Corey Brewer and a 2017 first-round pick. Though the 30-year-old Williams led the Lakers with a career-high 18.6 points on 44.4 percent shooting, the Lakers valued collecting long-term assets and paving way for additional playing time to their young players over Williams’ production. Williams, in his 11th NBA season, has two years remaining on his contract.
The Lakers plan to hire former player agent Rob Pelinka their general manager to replace Mitch Kupchak, though that deal has not been finalized. In the interim, Johnson and Lakers assistant general manager Glenn Carraro have fielded calls leading into the trade deadline.
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