The NBA’s trade deadline has now passed for another season with no obvious winner.
No-one has truly made the leap from mediocrity into the ranks of contenders. Even Boogie Cousins’ headline switch from Sacramento to New Orleans is one for the future rather than the immediate.
But what some moves have underlined is that, towards the bottom of the league, it’s rebuilding time for certain – nowhere more than with the Los Angeles Lakers whose new president Magic Johnson has jettisoned leading scorer Lou Williams without bringing in anyone of note.
Things in LaLaLand have been rough for a while but there could be a slide on the way as they bid to maximise their lottery chances in the months ahead.
For a side already scoring an unimpressive 104.5 points per game and conceding 110.7, that could place offense at a greater premium, starting with Friday’s trip to Oklahoma City Thunder where the Lakers are a mammoth 6.10 for the win.
OKC were active on the deadline, bringing in Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott who should lift the Thunder’s own scoring clip as well as chasing down the Utah Jazz in the Northwest division – odds of 4.35 to manage that look a steal, especially with their relatively easy schedule ahead. And with extra help for Russell Westbrook, that should certainly help them overhaul LA with - 12.5 at 2.28 not unrealistic.
But the Lakers figure to become regular whipping boys for the rest of the NBA as Magic tries to conjure up a fresh start. Showtime seems longer ago than ever before.
Best bet: Go under 217.5 points in Lakers-Thunder at 2.33
If Oklahoma City are destined to be a handful for the Lakers, then San Antonio on Sunday may bring a fistful of bother.
The Spurs, who have won seven of their last nine – have a tough trip to the LA Clippers on Friday with Chris Paul due to return from injury.
The Clips have taken both previous meetings this term and are a valid punt at -4.5. But even if San Antonio opts to rest personnel in the second leg of their LA tour, they’re worth a handicap of -12.5 against the clinical Spurs.