The NBA trade deadline is two days away and the Los Angeles Lakers are faced with major decisions. They have been involved in many significant rumors, including deals with the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors, but nothing has been set in stone and every rumor has come and gone in waves, as is the case when every trade deadline approaches.
Through it all, the Lakers have tried to evaluate whether or not they have enough on the roster currently to make another postseason run. Doubling down on last season’s conference finals team only to end up losing in the first round or Play-In Tournament would be a disastrous result. Therefore, the rest of the season rides on the decisions made by Rob Pelinka and the front office prior to Thursday afternoon.
It doesn’t help that the Lakers have played some of their best basketball over the last three games, getting big wins over the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks while securing their first three game win streak since early December. That stretch of great play has the Lakers re-evaluating their deadline plans, and reportedly has made it more likely they stand pat on Thursday, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic:
Though James has made it clear that he’d like for the organization to approach this deadline with the all-in approach he prefers, the likelihood that the Lakers stand pat or make a marginal move has somewhat increased in recent days, according to team and league sources. Their 2029 draft pick is valuable; if they keep it, they’ll be armed with three first-round picks to trade this summer. The market continues to favor sellers rather than buyers. The Lakers have also grown more confident in their potential for internal improvement.
Even so, with roughly 48 hours until the deadline, the Lakers remain active on the trade market in hopes of striking the right balance between giving themselves a chance to make another improbable playoff run and prioritizing the state of the franchise over the rest of the decade.
According to the report, this decision is not only about the Lakers’ improved play, but also the flexibility it gives L.A. to make a bigger move this summer. By not dealing a draft pick at this deadline, they would have three first-rounders to trade over the summer, putting them in the conversation for All-NBA level talents.
But going star chasing could be a risky play, which is why L.A. is keeping their options open and remaining active right now. It’s likely that these rumors will flip several more times before Thursday finally rears its head.
LeBron James loves who Lakers have
While James may prefer the Lakers to be all-in behind closed doors, he is spending more time publicly praising the players L.A. has currently. But he admitted he’ll have the same approach regardless of who is on the roster come Thursday.
“That’s not a question for me. I love who we have in the locker room, and that’s all I worry about… I don’t get caught up in that. We’re gonna go out and prepare ourselves every single night no matter what it is. No matter who’s out on this team. No matter what. It’s my job and it’s AD’s job as the two captains to make sure we keep the main thing the main thing. The main focus is now: Thursday’s game at home. We look forward to that matchup.”
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