The NBA season is only a quarter of the way through and it has already been a roller coaster for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers started off the season 0-5 before winning back-to-back games. They then had another 0-5 stretch to drop to 2-10, which was the worst record in the league at the time. Considering the Lakers came into this season with aspirations of competing for a championship, everyone was extremely disappointed with that start.
With the Lakers starting so poorly, many have wondered why they haven’t made a trade involving Russell Westbrook and their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks. The Lakers have been linked to several teams since the summer in trade talks, with the Indiana Pacers, Myles Turner and Buddy Hield being at the center of them.
After the Lakers’ poor start, it was reported that Rob Pelinka would wait until Thanksgiving to assess if this team needs a trade.
The Lakers have since begun turning things around, winning five of their last six games with LeBron James and Anthony Davis looking like superstars that can potentially compete for a championship if the right pieces are around them.
Still though, the Lakers have pushed their trade timeline back as they reportedly felt they could play at least .500 ball until Dec. 15 when more players become trade eligible, thus giving Pelinka more options to work with.
And now, it appears that timeline is being pushed back once again. Ahead of the Lakers’ matchup with the Pacers on Monday night, many have wondered if and when trade talks will pick back up between the two teams. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN though, the Lakers aren’t expected to make any deals until January:
When the Lakers started the season 0-5, Wojnarowski reported L.A. would wait until around Thanksgiving before looking to upgrade the team. The thinking behind that timing, team sources said, was threefold. Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka wanted to see how the group that was assembled in the offseason, featuring six players from last season’s team, looked together; he wanted to give first-year head coach Darvin Ham the chance to bring his vision for reinvigorating Westbrook to life; and he didn’t want to come off as desperate with early-season trade talk, knowing other teams would take advantage in any potential negotiations.
Where things stand now is an adjusted timeline for L.A. The Lakers expect more teams will be willing to engage them in trade talks after Dec. 15, when contracts that were signed in the summer are eligible to be moved, sources said. But even with more possibilities opening up, league business slows around the holidays, so the odds of any action before mid-January are remote.
The upcoming stretch of games will be extremely important for the Lakers as they have the toughest schedule in the league in December while also playing a lot on the road.
That stretch will show if this team is capable of competing. If they fail though, the Lakers’ 7-11 record is in danger of getting even worse, which they can’t afford if they want to get back in the playoff mix.
Pelinka: Lakers only have one chance to get trade right
As far as trades go, the Lakers have limited assets to work with as their 2027 and 2029 first-rounders are the only ones available to trade. Those theoretically hold a lot of value around the league considering it will be after the James and Davis era.
With that being the case, Pelinka understands the Lakers only have one chance to get a trade right which is why he is being patient until the right deal presents itself.
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