The Los Angeles Lakers have said for a while now that they did not intend on making any moves before the NBA trading deadline which is quickly approaching on Feb. 23. As they sit second-to-last in the Western Conference, things may have changed. Now, it seems as if the LA Lakers are open to listening to possible trade offers and seeing what could be done without losing some of their young talents, but two veteran names may be used as bait.
With the Lakers focused on a youth movement in Los Angeles, it is now obvious that the larger contracts of some veterans are proving to be huge burdens. Most notably, the contracts of Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng, but you might as well throw Lou Williams in that group as well.
As reported by Lakers Nation, Mozgov and Deng were both recently benched by head coach Luke Walton and replaced by 25-year-old Tarik Black and 19-year-old Brandon Ingram. Making matters even worse for Mozgov is that any reserve minutes went to backup rookie center Ivica Zubac instead of him as well.
After coming over from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mozgov hasn’t necessarily had bad numbers for the Lakers, but he isn’t producing like they hoped he would. Both he and Deng have contracts that would be extremely difficult to ship out per Lakers Nation, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try.
If the right trade offer came their way before the deadline in a couple of weeks, Los Angeles may consider moving one of their young players. For that to happen, though, it would need to be for a player that will help them now and for years to come.
Bleacher Report has a wish list of players they hope the Lakers would make moves for before the trade deadline, but it would take a lot of doing. Of course, DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings tops the list, but there have been rumors of him heading to Los Angeles for years now, and it just hasn’t happened.
Another name that could be moved is guard Jose Calderon who has an expiring contract and ESPN reports that the Cavaliers are interested in him. They would love to have Calderon coming off the bench for some backup help, but it isn’t known who they would be willing to trade to LA to make the move.
Lou Williams also has a pretty hefty contract as he is making $7 million a year and he is only in his second of three. This is another contract that may be difficult to move, but the Lakers would love to find another young player they could get in his place.
One thing that is hard to digest, though, is that Williams is one of the players giving it all and playing the hardest in LA. He is doing whatever it takes to lift the Lakers up and out of their poor positioning in the West, as per the OC Register, but he can’t do it all on his own. If the right offer for a younger player and less money comes along, they will jump on making the move.
For now, the Lakers are listening to trade offers, but it would take an ideal player for any moves to be made before the NBA’s deadline.
If the LA Lakers do end up making a move before the NBA trade deadline in a little over two weeks, something will need to be done soon. Lou Williams is a valuable asset and the veteran could provide a spark off the bench for a number of teams in the league. Timofey Mozgov was seen as someone who would help elevate Los Angeles this season, but it hasn’t quite worked out. They may not land someone like DeMarcus Cousins, but one move could help them move out of the cellar.
[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]