The Los Angeles Lakers are finally on a roll as they’ve strung together wins to salvage the mediocre start to their 2023-24 season.
The Lakers have been able to win games thanks to a healthy LeBron James, although the roster remains incomplete as they’ve been missing rotation players like Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent.
Both Vanderbilt and Vincent are progressing through their respective rehabs and should be able to suit up in the near future, though that hasn’t stopped Los Angeles from poking around the league to see who’s available. Perhaps the most popular name right now is Chicago Bulls All-Star guard Zach LaVine.
Philadelphia’s interest in LaVine has been overstated, as covered here, while I’ve been advised that the Lakers’ reported interest at this early juncture of the season is best described (at most) as TBD.
The Lakers, for starters, couldn’t trade Austin Reaves or Rui Hachimura even if they wanted to before Jan. 15. A further slew of summer signees — D’Angelo Russell, Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood — can’t be traded before Dec. 15.
If the Lakers decide later in the season to seriously pursue LaVine, they’ll first have to embrace the idea that the 28-year-old would be a very pricy No. 3 option on a team headlined by the seemingly ageless LeBron James and Anthony Davis. LaVine, again, is only in the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract.
I’m told the Lakers, at present, are focused on internal improvement, hopeful that getting Jarred Vanderbilt (who is ineligible to be traded this season after signing an extension with the Lakers in September) and Vincent back on the floor regularly will give them a meaningful boost.
As Stein notes, the timing for a LaVine trade might not work out given the restrictions on some of their players but the Lakers also have reason to believe they’ll naturally improve once the team is completely healthy.
LaVine would definitely help some of Los Angeles’ outside shooting and scoring woes, but he feels like more of a luxury than a winning piece. The Lakers built their roster on depth and continuity and it’s right to see how that plays out before making any big changes.
LeBron James says he needs to reminds people about his play sometimes
James’ recent stretch has been nothing short of remarkable given his age, and he said that sometimes he feels the need to remind people of what he’s capable of.
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