Interestingly, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor lists the Lakers’ biggest need as a perimeter shot creator who can defend and writes that giving up Russell and two valuable picks (presumably their 2029 first-round selection and another pick swap) would be a “massive bet” on Murray.
Considering how well Russell has played, is Murray really that much of an upgrade? On offense, Murray has largely been subpar scoring from the perimeter, making 33.6 percent of his 3s over the past four seasons. This season, he’s up to 38.8 percent from 3 while posting career highs from midrange (55 percent). And on defense, can he return to form? As a younger player on the Spurs, Murray was an All-Defensive guard. His effort and intensity have slipped ever since, but the chance to compete for a title and a chip on his shoulder might inspire a return to prime form.
Maybe Murray just needs a change of scenery. Maybe playing alongside Trae Young instead of Derrick White showcases more of Murray’s defensive flaws. Perhaps the guard needs consistent competition around him to bring out his best.
As for what L.A. already has in-house: Yes, Russell has excelled lately. The 27-year-old is showing that he’s capable of putting up big numbers if given the role. However, history has proven that a large offensive role for Russell doesn’t produce winning basketball consistently.
If the Lakers are serious about surrounding James with players who can impact winning come the postseason, they shouldn’t hesitate to move D-Lo. It should just be a matter of who’s the best player they can get back given their limited draft capital.
"The Lakers have been active… I think Laker fans and players and the organization probably have to temper their expectations on this trade deadline… Their best bet might be to wait… There are so few difference makers available."
The Wizards are seeking a first-rounder in exchange for Jones, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, though O’Connor hears that the team’s demands for their point guard exceed that the Lakers would likely be willing to give up.
I’d be intrigued by a package that sends Vincent and multiple seconds for Jones since he’s a reliable facilitator and a knockdown shooter. Currently, Washington’s demands exceed what the Lakers would likely be willing to give up.
It’s unclear how much time Joel Embiid will miss, as the big man is undergoing an MRI after leaving Tuesday’s game against the Warriors. Embiid missed the previous two games because of left knee soreness and according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, some within the Sixers organization believe that Embiid rushed back on Tuesday night because of “all the scrutiny.”
You could see it long before he was hurt against the Warriors. Embiid, who missed Philadelphia’s game at Portland on Monday night, looked like a player who pushed himself to play against Golden State because the whole basketball world was screaming in his ear. There are people within the Sixers who are convinced that he played only because of all the scrutiny.
There was some social media scrutiny on Saturday when Embiid was declared a late scratch vs. the Nuggets, something that was reportedly the team’s decision.
For clarification, the medical team decided to shut Embiid down, who was hampered by his knee on Thursday. https://t.co/xjgIEjQIlI
There was scrutiny for multiple reasons, mainly that Embiid would again miss a contest against Nikola Jokic, having not played against the two-time MVP in Denver since 2019. There was also some scrutiny about the timing of Embiid being ruled out.
Daily News | NBA expected to investigate Joel Embiid’s late scratch from Saturday’s game vs. Denver Nuggets https://t.co/ItBw82Gw0a
Yet, that was essentially the extent of the “scrutiny” surrounding Embiid missing his recent games.
The reality of the NBA’s new rules requiring players to play in 65 games to be eligible for award consideration might have played a role.
With Embiid missing the Nuggets game and the Blazers game (on Monday), Embiid now can only miss four more games to be eligible for the 2024 MVP award and it’s looking like the new rule will keep Embiid from capturing consideration for back-to-back NBA MVPs.