As the Los Angeles Lakers were dealing with the frustration of missing the NBA playoffs year after year, they accumulated assets in the form of draft picks that amounted to Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart.
LeBron James’ arrival lent to speculation the Lakers would break up the quartet in effort to acquire a second All-Star. However, they stood pat, in part because of James’ confidence and desire to play with the group.
But now as the Lakers look to potentially improve their roster during the season, teams reportedly are inquiring on the young core. The Phoenix Suns are said to have asked for one of Ball, Hart, Ingram or Kuzma in a trade for Trevor Ariza.
Naturally, they were rebuked. However, the Lakers are willing to trade from their crop of young talent if it means acquiring a marquee talent, according to Brad Turner of the L.A. Times:
The Lakers have informed teams that have called about trade proposals that they will not give up any of their young core unless it’s for a superstar player, one person said.
Ingram is the longest-tenured of the ballyhooed young core, though some question the longevity he will ultimately have with the team. Responses to his critics serve as a reminder that Ingram is only in his third season and a mere 21 years old.
The Lakers decided against building a trade package around him for Paul George in 2017. The Indiana Pacers ultimately sent the swingman to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he re-signed without so much as taking a meeting with the Lakers in free agency.
Reports have varied of who the Lakers would be most-likely to trade in hypothetical scenarios. Each has a case as to why they should remain with the team, but fact of the matter is the Lakers presumably would be willing to trade anyone outside of James under the right circumstances.