The Los Angeles Lakers are in an interesting spot in their first season with LeBron James. The team remains right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, but still has some obvious flaws that need to be addressed.
However, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka want to preserve salary cap space for 2019 free agency. The Lakers have been linked to a couple of big-name stars via trade as well, including Anthony Davis.
But what the team is willing to give up in a trade right now is unknown. The Lakers could show patience in growing their young core, but if the right deal is available, they could potentially part with one of those young stars.
Where exactly the Lakers front office stands is unknown, but one executive made it clear that the team are looking to win now, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
“We’re in win-now mode,” a Lakers executive said.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the Lakers are going to be moving all of their young pieces for more established stars immediately. It does seem to suggest that they could be open to making a big trade this season even if it costs them one or more of their young core.
Though, it’s also plausible that’s changed in light of James suffering a strained groin and the Lakers falling down the Western Conference standings.
The name that has been most-mentioned as a trade chip is Brandon Ingram. The third-year forward has shown great potential, which is likely what makes him so attractive to other teams. He also seems to have struggled most to adjust his game next to James, which would also make him more of a candidate to be moved.
Of course, the Lakers could also choose to make a couple of smaller moves, adding a role player or two that could help in the short-term without hurting their cap space this summer.
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