With the Lakers off to a 2-9 start this season and no signs that a turnaround is imminent, VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and the team’s front office face a difficult decision, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.
As Haynes outlines, the Lakers must decide whether to continue pushing their chips into the middle of the table by making more win-now trades this season or whether they’d be better off waiting until the 2023 offseason to pursue major moves.
Waiting until next summer would mean Russell Westbrook‘s $47MM+ expiring contract would no longer be on the team’s books. It would also put the Lakers in position to trade an additional draft pick, since they could move their 2023 first-rounder (once the Pelicans exercise their swap rights) after the pick has been made.
However, LeBron James has a finite number of high-level seasons left and doesn’t want to waste a year waiting for reinforcements, sources tell Haynes. Other core players on the roster would also prefer the team to make win-now moves, Haynes adds.
As has been reported repeatedly throughout the offseason and into the season, the Lakers don’t want to move their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in a deal that doesn’t significantly improve their chances of contending for a title. According to Haynes, there’s not a universal belief within the club’s front office that acquiring Myles Turner and Buddy Hield from the Pacers would move the needle to that degree.
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- The Lakers are “known to covet” Bradley Beal, according to Haynes. However, the Wizards guard just signed a five-year contract with the team that includes a full no-trade clause, so he’d have to ask out of Washington for L.A. – or any other team – to have a shot at him.
- As Jovan Buha reported earlier this week, the Lakers aren’t considering trading Anthony Davis, Haynes confirms. However, Haynes hears from sources that the team has received more calls about Russell Westbrook as of late — those talks haven’t advanced beyond the initial stages though.
- LeBron James, who was diagnosed with a left adductor strain, has been ruled out for Friday’s game vs. Sacramento, and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter video link via The Rally) hears that James is expected to miss Sunday’s game vs. Brooklyn too. After Sunday, the team is off until next Friday.
- In the same video clip, Charania also reports that free agent wings Joe Wieskamp and Tony Snell recently worked out for the Lakers, whose .293 3PT% ranks last in the NBA.