Lakers OK with keeping roster intact
The NBA trade deadline passed last week and the Lakers didn't make any roster changes. Players became available on the waiver wire and things remained the same. And that's fine in the Lakers' eyes, with Coach Phil Jackson saying he neither expected nor feels disappointed General Manager Mitch Kupchak abstained from making any moves.
"We're still very aware of who's been released and when Mitch gets back from Europe, we'll talk about it, said Jackson, whose team plays the Charlotte Bobcats Friday and has a five-game winning streak. "There's a couple of places we could use some backup help or insurance, but offhand there's nothing that stands out that I would tell you."
For now, the Lakers' only change is forward Matt Barnes' returning to the lineup, possibly against Charlotte, after fully rehabbing a surgically repaired right knee. He missed 25 games since suffering a lateral meniscus tear Jan. 7 in the Lakers' 101-97 victory over New Orleans. The Lakers expect him to provide the same aggressiveness, quickness and energy that resulted in season averages of 7.4 points, 4.8 rebounds in 20.8 minutes off the bench.
Kupchak had publicly said he'd consider making a trade even with a $91-million payroll, expressed dissatisfaction with the team after losing to the league's worst team in Cleveland in the final game before the All-Star break and admitted uncertainty on how the Lakers would respond to loss. But after the trade deadline passed, he also offered a ringing endorsement of the personnel to The Times' Mike Bresnahan, saying, "I do like the roster as it is and they certainly deserve a chance to defend their title."
Kobe Bryantwas indifferent about Kupchak's statement.
"I'm not sure," Bryant said what Kupchak's comments mean to the team. "I have no idea. I don't think anybody here is really concerned. I think everybody comes out there and does their job so I don't really know."
The Lakers are very well aware, however, of the possible additions the Miami Heat (Mike Bibby), Boston Celtics (Troy Murphy) and Dallas Mavericks (Corey Brewer) would do to bolster their teams.
"It should," Jackson said. "They are quality players, or have been in the past. They should still have something left in the tank to help out those teams. It's kind of a trend in the NBA. It's been going on six or seven years now with players transferring from other teams and getting buyouts and going back to their own teams. It's a new fad."
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