After a flurry of moves during the NBA offseason to right the ship for the Los Angeles Lakers, things haven’t gone as planned, with the team sitting at 26-29 ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline.
The Russell Westbrook experiment hasn’t worked out, and now things are starting to heat up after LeBron James let it be known changes need to be made following a blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Lakers will almost certainly be working the phones before the buzzer sounds on the NBA trade deadline, with James and general manager Rob Pelinka continuing to collaborate on moves the team makes.
James had a hand in Los Angeles’ roster construction in the offseason, consulting with Rob Pelinka, Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager, on everything from the Westbrook trade with the Washington Wizards to free-agent signings, sources told ESPN. Pelinka will continue to collaborate with James leading up to the deadline in an attempt to improve the Lakers’ chances of a deep run this season, sources told ESPN.
It seems highly unlikely the Lakers can trade Westbrook and get anything back of value outside of moving off his massive contract. Although moving on from Westbrook is enough of a motivating factor for L.A., it remains to be seen what the team does and if Pelinka and James are determined to make something happen.
The most valuable assets for the Lakers right now are Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and a first-round pick in 2027. Unfortunately, Horton-Tucker’s value has dropped drastically this season due to his inconsistent play, while Nunn hasn’t played a game in the regular season due to a bone bruise in his knee, which hasn’t gotten better over the last few months.
The Lakers are in a bind with limited assets and a season headed in the wrong direction. The team’s actions or inaction at the NBA trade deadline will be telling in terms of where L.A. may end up at season’s end and perhaps what the future may hold for the Purple and Gold.
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