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Report: Lakers were reluctant to trade after Kobe Bryant’s death

Lakers executive Rob Pelinka and Kobe Bryant

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Former Laker Kobe Bryant and Lakers GM Rob Pelinka attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on October 25, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

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Kobe Bryant’s death shook the world, particularly Los Angeles, particularly the Lakers.

The Lakers were in such grief, they asked the NBA to postpone a game. They have been publicly mourning since. The emotional experience has seemed to galvanize and bond the team.

Just as the trade deadline was approaching.

Ultimately, the Lakers stood pat.

Sean Deveney of Heavy:

“There was not a lot of appetite for changing things,” one team source said. “There wasn’t a lot of appetite for telling players they’re going to Minnesota or Atlanta or somewhere, Charlotte, wherever. If there’s an offer you can’t say no to, of course, you’re going to take it. But the idea of breaking things up after what’s happened with Kobe, it wasn’t something anyone seemed to want to do.”

I can’t imagine what the Lakers have been going through these last few weeks.

This wasn’t just about wanting to keep the group’s chemistry intact. Negotiating trades usually requires significant time. If Lakers lead executive Rob Pelinka, who was extremely close with Kobe and Gianna, didn’t have the capacity for that the previous couple weeks, it’d be completely understandable.

As time passed since since Bryant’s death and action heated up near the deadline, the Lakers were clearly open to a trade. They were in talks to acquire Marcus Morris, whom the Knicks ultimately sent to the Clippers. Kyle Kuzma – a young player on a win-now team whose skills overlap with LeBron James’ and Anthony Davis’ – looked like a prime trade candidate.

But everything happening around this team made it less likely they’d complete a trade.