With the NBA trade deadline still over a month away (February 23rd), you’d think it was a lot closer with the amount of rumors and speculation making the rounds. While much of the trade talks and rumors have centered around top prospects like DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George, there are still a number of teams looking to make moves. While much of the league tends to focus on the big, blockbuster deals, there are just as many teams out there looking to make slight tweaks — the little extra push to get them over the hump without going all-in for a massive overhaul.
While the Los Angeles Lakers are still very far away from contending for a title, they certainly have a number of young pieces that many teams around the league would trade for — that is, if they are willing to part with any of them. According to the latest Lakers rumors, the organization is interested in targeting key players to beef up their roster, however, whether or not the organization is willing to part with any of its young talent in order to acquire these players remains to be seen.
According to CBS Sports, the purple and gold have expressed interest in acquiring both Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap, and Philadelphia big man Nerlens Noel. That being said, however, those same Lakers rumors also indicate that the organization is still holding their young core of players close to the vest (or jersey, as it were).
D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram are all seemingly off the table for the Lakers, along with Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. (according to Sporting News). Couple this with the fact that the Lakers are not eligible to trade a future draft pick until 2020 or 2021, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to find both the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers questioning just what is on the table from the Lakers, and just what they would be willing to part with.
After what started out as an energy-filled 2016/2017 regular season (the first in the post-Kobe Bryant era), things have certainly taken a turn for the worse, as the Lakers currently sit with a record of 15-27 at the time of this writing. While the Lakers certainly have a handful of assets to either trade, or a handful of assets to eventually build toward a lucrative future, the odds are good that the Lakers will find themselves in lottery land yet again at the end of the regular season. While they certainly have an abundance of young talent, that talent is still raw and developing, and, as evidenced by their refusal to offer up any of these young players in trade talks, it would seem that the Los Angeles Lakers are determined to play the long game. While that certainly has the potential to pay off in the future, the reality at present is that the purple and gold will remain in lottery land for the time being.
While both Paul Millsap and Nerlens Noel would vastly improve any team just by suiting up, it seems that the latest Lakers rumors indicate that, for better or worse, the purple and gold are planning to hold on to what they’ve got and continue to develop talent from the ground up. While no one expected the Lakers to be frontrunners in the stacked Western Conference this season, it hasn’t been all for naught, as the new-look Lakers have shown flashes of brilliance at times, and offered Laker Nation a glimpse of what the future may hold. Ultimately, only time will tell if the organization is making the right choice by going all-in with these young guns and choosing not to pull the trigger on any potential trades, opting (for the time being) to keep this young core intact.
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