The trade, like most of those made in these scorched-earth times, was a straight salary dump. The Los Angeles Lakers sent backup center Chris Mihm to the Memphis Grizzlies for a conditional second-round pick they almost certainly will never see. They also gave the Grizzlies cash to pay for Mihm’s salary, essentially making a rent payment for room on Memphis’ roster.
And in return?
The Lakers saved more than $2 million in luxury-tax payments.
This is what qualifies as a smart deal in today’s NBA. Thin your bench, pay another team to take your player, get nothing tangible in return and save your owner enough money to remodel the living room in his waterfront home. Apparently, even Jerry Buss can’t sell enough $2,500 courtside seats to hand his GM a blank check in our withering economy.
This is also what makes the Lakers the biggest winner at this season’s trade deadline. Not because of what they did, but because of what everyone else didn’t do. None of the Western Conference’s contenders made a single move to close the gap between them and the Lakers.
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