The Lakers may have loosened up the NBA trade market a bit with their low-risk deal for Rui Hachimura, but at least one veteran assistant coach won’t be surprised if there is a lack of major transactions as we approach the February 9 trade deadline.
“You’re not going to see the kind of moves teams SHOULD be making,” he told Heavy Sports. “Nobody has any (guts) anymore. Everybody’s so afraid to be wrong. They know that if a trade doesn’t pay off right away, they’re going to get killed on social media. Even before the guy you get plays for you, you’re probably going to get criticized.
“But if you’re going to be a GM in this league, you can’t worry about that s***. But guys do. It’s the same thing with coaching. Nobody wants to tell the stars what to do — and that’s the f***ing job.”
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 23, 2023
That rant aside, teams are certainly keeping an eye on Toronto, which begins a brutal seven-game tour of the Western Conference on Wednesday. The Raptors are currently outside of even the play-in tournament, and it’s hard to see them continuing on the same path. A shake-up of some sort seems in order.
“I’d be surprised if Toronto doesn’t do anything,” one league exec told Heavy Sports. “They need a big body.”
When it was suggested it would nice for them to have Jonas Valanciunas back, he said, “Absolutely. He’d be perfect. He might not go with their style, but they need some bulk. He’s one of the most underrated players in the league, in my opinion. And the guy’s like double-double every night. He’s not sexy, but, I mean, he gets no credit — from anybody, except New Orleans. I’m a big fan of his.”
The exec is also enamored with Toronto guard Fred VanVleet, who can opt out of his contract after this season.
“He’s a winner,” he said. “He’s not having a great year, but I’ll take him.
“Something’s got to start happening, and not just in Toronto,” he added. “I think the teams that you think are going to do something are probably going to do something, because they can’t stand pat. They just can’t.”