When the Los Angeles Lakers ran back a majority of their roster from last year’s postseason run, the hope was that they would be able to build continuity throughout the regular season to be even better by the time this year’s playoffs come around.
To this point though, that hasn’t been the case as numerous players have missed significant time with injuries and the Lakers have struggled as a result, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference at 27-25.
While there have been some improvements as of late, it still became clear that the Lakers would need to make a move ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline in order to get this team back in championship contention.
The Lakers have naturally been linked to a lot of players in recent weeks as there were a few different paths they could take whether that be taking a big swing using their 2029 first-round pick, making smaller moves around the edges and holding onto their pick or doing nothing at all.
It appears the likely scenario is that the Lakers don’t make a move in order to retain their assets to chase a star over the summer, per Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report:
The probable path for Los Angeles Lakers is standing pat at trade deadline with potential to acquire another star player in the offseason when armed with three first-round picks, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 8, 2024
This is not the first time this has come up as recent reports have indicated that the Lakers plan on making a run at Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell over the summer.
It remains to be seen if Mitchell will even be available, however, and if he is, it’s not a guarantee that the Lakers will have the best offer out there.
By not trading their 2029 first-round pick now though, the Lakers will be armed with three first-round picks to use in trades this offseason. Given all the recent noise, it will be interesting to see if that is enough to get LeBron James to stay or if he potentially leaves to finish his career elsewhere.
The focus for now though remains on the rest of this season, and barring any unforeseen moves in the next hour, the Lakers may have to look to the buyout market for roster upgrades.
Darvin Ham doesn’t rule out Jarred Vanderbilt returning for Lakers
One addition the Lakers could get down the road is Jarred Vanderbilt, who recently went down with a significant foot injury.
The Lakers announced that Vanderbilt will be re-evaluated in around a month and head coach Darvin Ham did not rule out the possibility for him returning this season, which would be like getting another trade acquisition late in the year.
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