Los Angeles Lakers shifting free agency focus to 2019

NBAE via Getty Images

While the Lakers could still move either or both players before Thursday's trade deadline, one league source put the chances of a meaningful trade at "50-50 at best".

While Randle has been playing well of late with 10 straight games in double figures and at least 20 points five times since January 9, it makes sense for other teams to exercise an element of caution before he enters restricted free agency.

In the win over the Suns, Hart led the team in rebounding with 11 to go along with 15 points, three assists, one block, and a steal as a starter. "That's them doing a good job of rebounding and getting it out".

Los Angeles apparently doesn't think removing Randle from that core for a second-rounder at this stage is worth it.

Meanwhile, the Lakers already had five different players hit double-figures in points through 36 minutes, with Ingram leading the way and notching 22 points on 9-11 shooting through three quarters.

Playing the long game in LA is the best possible course the Lakers can take to assure success again. Randle was fouled with 17.9 seconds left, and he made the first of two free throws.

The Lakers held the Suns to just 14 points in the final period, and closed the final 5:27 on an 8-0 run.

"We are at a little rough patch right now", Anthony said.

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Unusual for a team that little more than a month ago stood out for its struggles and had fallen to last place in the Western Conference.

The Thunder have lost four in a row after winning eight straight and dropped to 30-24 on the season.

"The challenge was Phoenix likes to play fast, we like to play fast", Walton said.

Kuzma went one step further and said that Hart should be starting the remainder of the year. "In the first half we weren't committed to our defense". Made just 7 of 25 3-pointers.

Two other players that have played a part in recent form include Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, who have also been a part of many trade discussions.

In the first half of the fourth quarter, the Lakers' second unit brought the arena to life and also finally provided the Lakers their first double-digit lead of the evening.

The fourth quarter turned into a preview for next week's All-Star Game, not that any of the players on the court will be participating.

The Suns and Lakers were knotted at 57-57 at the break, and Phoenix was hanging around by pushing LA around down low.

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