Rob Pelinka: Lakers ‘Still Have More Work To Do’ To Upgrade Roster
Rob Pelinka, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Even though a majority of free agency moves have been made already, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of the teams that don’t appear to be done yet this offseason.

The Lakers know that the 2021-22 season was an absolute disaster and want to avoid that happening again, especially with players as talented as LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the roster.

Considering the Lakers don’t have many trade assets, the most realistic roster upgrade they can make is acquiring Kyrie Irving, who is on his way out the door with the Brooklyn Nets and has made it clear he only wants to play for L.A.

There reportedly hasn’t been any traction on a deal yet though with the main reason being that the Nets don’t want to take back Russell Westbrook and his $47 million expiring salary.

That will likely require the Lakers to get creative by finding a third team, or find roster upgrades elsewhere.

One thing that is for sure though is that the Lakers are not done making moves as Rob Pelinka stated as such while at the Las Vegas Summer League, via NBA insider Marc Stein:

My sense is that the Lakers will continue to explore every conceivable option for acquiring Irving, who made his current presence in Los Angeles loudly known earlier in the week when he attended a Sparks game. Management certainly hasn’t promised that it can pull an Irving trade off, since it might well require the participation of at least one other team to provide Brooklyn with what it wants, but Pelinka made it clear in a Friday night TV appearance that he is still pursuing upgrades after his first five moves in free agency (Damian Jones and Troy Brown Jr. have also been signed in recent days).

Is that a shooter like Hield or Gordon rather than Irving? TBD.

“We’re still not done,” Pelinka said. “We still have more work to do.”

A big priority for the Lakers is adding shooting with Buddy Hield and Eric Gordon being potential options:

After the Lakers’ good work in the bargain department to add the likes of Thomas Bryant, Lonnie Walker IV and Juan Toscano-Anderson, they are still “definitely” looking for ways to add shooting, according to one source with knowledge of the team’s thinking. That is why they continue to be linked to Hield (now an Indiana Pacer) and Houston’s Eric Gordon … as well as the fact both Hield and Gordon are former Pelinka clients from his days as a player agent.

Talks with the Indiana Pacers on a deal for Hield and Myles Turner reportedly aren’t going anywhere due to the Lakers’ lack of desire to add both their 2027 and 2029 first round picks.

Unless an Irving deal gets done, it’s hard to imagine the Lakers finding the shooting upgrades they want without including future draft capital. While L.A. has remained hesitant to do so to this point, they clearly know that they need to make more changes to get back into contention so it will be interesting to see if they change their stance on trading away those future draft picks.

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