Heisler: Lakers setting themselves up to be relevant again
By Mark Heisler
This just in: Not only are the Lakers the NBA’s most tampering-prone team, they still actually do stuff!
As in days of yore, they became headliners this week, pulling off the trade deadline blockbuster that stunned everyone.
Not that it was any surprise locally, where even grade-school kids knew Magic Johnson wanted to move young players to create two maximum contract salary cap slots.
Nor was there any mystery as to who the Lakers want — LeBron James and Paul George, with DeMarcus Cousins as a backup option. Anyone who didn’t know that would have been sent to Remedial Lakers History.
The “block” in “blockbuster” came from the smallest, most famous player in the deal, the 5-foot-9 Isaiah Thomas (actually 5-8¾ without shoes at the 2011 draft camp), who succeeds Kobe Bryant as the franchise player. Also, as the shortest ever to suit up for them.
(Slater Martin, a Minneapolis Laker, was listed at 5-10, Johnny Egan at 5-11 … with others like Ty Lue hilariously listed as taller.)
At least Isaiah can be their franchise player for the rest of this season. Despite Magic’s excitement (“We want to get him in here fast … to come in there and lead our troops”), they’ll drop him like a hot rock if that’s what it takes to land two full-sized superstars.
Despite the conjecture industry around LeBron and George, neither is saying anything about leaving.
LeBron never says anything, although his people drop the occasional hint, which is why everyone knows he might leave, is upset at Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and open to joining the Lakers if they land another star.
Meanwhile in OKC, George was so moved by Russell Westbrook’s support of his initial All-Star “snub” — as if he had a better case than Chris Paul or Lou Williams — he said his decision “is becoming even […]