The Los Angeles Lakers’ season is off to an unideal start as the team is just 2-8 while ranking dead last in offensive rating so far. Though it is still early, the Lakers are already in danger of seeing this season go down the drain leading many to call on general manager Rob Pelinka and the front office to make some moves to improve the roster.
The issue for the Lakers is that the team has very few assets to trade with the main ones being their 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks along with the expiring contract of Russell Westbrook. But so far, the front office has been very hesitant to part ways with those picks and it looks as if they will continue to do so.
Shams Charania of The Athletic made an appearance on the Run It Back podcast, and when asked about the Lakers, he made it clear that the team will be very cautious about dealing those picks and if the season continues to go downhill, they are even more likely to resist trading them:
“I’m told the organization will be prudent with their two first-round picks available the rest of the decade in 2027 and 2029. I don’t believe the Lakers are in a position right now to mortgage their future with those two available picks. So realizing that this team is probably not going to be a championship contender, might not even be a shoo-in for the playoffs. I mean, the way that the season is going, they’re probably looking at marginal changes around the edges at best and that means trying to make deals without putting in first-round picks. Because as of right now, the organization seems to be moving in a direction where they’re going to resist moving first-round picks if the season continues to go down this path. For Lakers fans who were clamoring for a Buddy Hield, Myles Turner move where you’re giving up two first-round picks, you’re giving up multiple seconds and firsts, I don’t think, where we see this Lakers team, it’s not prudent for them to do that.”
It may not be what some want to hear as nobody wants to see this Lakers season continue to go down this path, but it is likely best for the future of the Lakers to stick with this plan. Pelinka has said previously that the Lakers only get one chance to make a deal with these picks so they must make sure it is the right move to make and one that will truly change the fortunes of the team.
Moving those picks in a deal that makes them a mid-level team could hamper the Lakers for years to come and they do not want to do that. Obviously Pelinka will continue to explore other potential trades, but if it involves those picks, it will have to be a game-changer type of player otherwise the team will take their chances in the offseason with all their available salary cap space.
Ham discusses Lakers’ tax situation hurting roster construction
Unfortunately for the Lakers, their options are limited in trying to improve the roster mid-season and head coach Darvin Ham is very much aware of the situation.
Following the Lakers’ latest loss to the Utah Jazz, Ham was candid about the Lakers being well over the salary cap as well as the luxury tax and thus can’t just go out and spend money at this moment on roster fixes. From the sound of things, it feels like Ham is prepared to go into battle with the current roster throughout the remainder of the season if need be.
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