The Los Angeles Lakers were arguably the biggest loser of the entire NBA Trade Deadline for the simple reason that they did nothing. They sit at 28-26 after Friday's win over the Pelicans, good for ninth in the Western Conference. They're closer to being out of a spot in the Play-In Tournament altogether than they are to the sixth seed which guarantees them a playoff spot, yet Rob Pelinka showed absolutely no urgency in making a move.
Part of the reason for that is because his team has shown no reason for him to make a big move. The Lakers have been hovering around .500 pretty much the entire season despite mostly healthy seasons from LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They have shown no signs of being anything better than just average. Giving up future pieces for a team to then not go on a deep playoff run would be a waste.
Another part of the reason for that likely had to do with the buyout market. The Lakers have LeBron and AD on their side with the allure of playing for the Lakers in Los Angeles as they gear up for a playoff run had to be appealing to somebody.
It wound up being appealing to the best player available on the buyout market, as Spencer Dinwiddie reportedly inked a contract worth $1.5 million, the league minimum, covering the rest of the season according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
Spencer Dinwiddie contract grade: Lakers make their big midseason acquisition
Dinwiddie was traded by the Brooklyn Nets to the Toronto Raptors on deadline day in exchange for Dennis Schroder and Thad Young. The Nets wanted a point guard under team control past this season, and the Raptors wanted to shed Schroder's contract. Both teams accomplished what they wanted with this trade. With the Raptors not competing this season, they opted to just waive Dinwiddie and let him sign on with a contender.
Right away, it became abundantly clear that Dinwiddie was going to choose between the Lakers and Mavericks. After watching both teams play in person, Dinwiddie opted to sign with the Lakers, his hometown team, and try to win a championship. Dinwiddie will presumably come off the bench behind D'Angelo Russell and look to give the Lakers quality minutes as a reserve, At this point in his career, that might not be the worst thing. After all, he's had success coming off the bench in the past dating back to his first stint with Brooklyn.
The 30-year-old has had a down year this season, averaging just 12.6 points per game on 39.1/32.0/78.1 shooting splits. He is averaging six assists which is solid, but Dinwiddie's poor shooting percentages on a team led by LeBron James doesn't exactly make him a seamless fit.
He should help take a bit of a load off of James' shoulders as he's more than capable of handling the ball and running the offense, but it's hard to see Dinwiddie on the floor in the game's biggest moments over players like Russell and Austin Reaves who are in the backcourt for the Lakers.
Does he make them better? Absolutely. He'll probably be more efficient with better looks created by guys like LeBron and AD, and with added motivation of playing for a team trying to win, he'll likely play a bit harder too. However, it's hard to see this as a needle-mover for a Lakers team trying to win a championship.
The value is impossible to complain about. The Lakers had an open roster spot and filled it with the best player available. Dinwiddie is just not the best fit on a Lakers team that always needs more shooting and theoretically has enough creation with guys like Russell, Reaves, and James. This would look a whole lot better paired with another move, however, the signing itself is hard to fault the Lakers for making. Especially at that price.