Lakers Unlikely To Deal Before Deadline

February 4, 2010 – 3:17 pm by Ryan Phillips

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The Los Angeles Lakers currently have the highest payroll in the NBA and there has been much chatter recently surrounding a possible deal for the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich. Reportedly, the proposed deal would have sent Hinrich to the Lakers, with Sasha Vujacic and Adam Morrison (and his expiring $5.2 million contract) headed to Chicago. That deal now appears to be off according to Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak.

“There is no compelling reason to dramatically change this team, in particular its core,” Kupchak told the Los Angeles Times.

And, frankly, he’s right. If they stay healthy, the Lakers are still the odds-on favorites to win their second NBA title in a row.

The Lakers have the second-best record in the league, despite suffering though stretches with injuries to Pau Gasol and Ron Artest, and dealing with Kobe Bryant’s numerous lingering maladies. That’s pretty good considering.

While it’s true that quick point guards can give the Lakers fits at times, the defense as a whole is very good. Probably better this year than it was during the 2009 championship run. Adding Hinrich wouldn’t give the team enough of a boost to really change anything and the loss of Morrison’s contract in the offseason will help with payroll flexibility.

While Vujacic hasn’t played well this year (or last year for that matter), he’s still a 6’6 guard who is really quick and plays tough defense. He’s annoying. really annoying. Sometimes that’s a great quality to have when playing defense in high pressure situations. I’m not saying he’s a guy the Lakers have to keep around, but he’s not a complete waste of roster space either.

Barring an injury I’d be shocked if the Lakers make a move before the deadline.

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