DR: While it looked as though the Lakers were going to stand pat and focus on drafting this summer, they ended up making a few moves. Who did they bring in and who did they lose? How do you feel about the moves they made?
AI: In: Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Cleveland’s first-round pick
Out: Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr.
It’s an overall very good move for the Lakers given the constraints of what they’re trying to achieve this and/or next summer. They had to get rid of Clarkson’s contract without taking any money back in order to have two max salary slots to offer. The first-rounder on top of that while also clearing up minutes in the front court are just cherries on top.
DR: There was a lot of speculation leading up to the trade deadline that the Lakers might be looking to move Julius Randle. The Mavericks were one of the teams mentioned as potential suitors. Nothing happened on that front, though. Why do you think the Lakers decided to hang on to Randle, and if the Mavs did come calling, who or what would you have liked in return?
AI: Randle has been playing really, really well lately after (finally) being inserted into the starting five. Essentially, the Lakers had to choose between Randle and Clarkson and, unfortunately for the latter, Randle is just much harder to replace than a combo guard to provide scoring off the bench.
Had the Mavs put together a serious offer for Randle, I would’ve hoped for either a protected first or salary assistance in the form of taking either the Clarkson contract or (ideally, given Randle’s value) Deng’s. It makes sense that the two sides couldn’t figure something out, though, given Randle’s variable and increasing value and Dallas’ own rebuilding process.
DR: For tonight’s game, what are the major factors for the Lakers to get the W over the Mavs?
AI: The key for the Lakers is always defense. Their offense simply cannot function in the halfcourt and, in order to get out in transition sufficiently, they need stops. If Dallas either forces the Lakers to take the ball out of the net consistently or gets back in transition with discipline, that’s usually the best way to beat the Lakers.
DR: Tell me something great about former Maverick and NBA Champion Corey Brewer.
AI: He might get bought out?
In all seriousness, he’s right up there among the most professional and insightful guys I’ve been around, in any sport I’ve covered. He’s a delight.
Only members of ISIS don’t like Corey Brewer.