LA Lakers Trade Rumors: GM Says Lakers Exploring Trades Before Deadline

LA Lakers trade rumors were confirmed by team general manager Mitch Kupchack. Addressing a possible Lakers trade, Kupchack spoke on Time Warner Cable about the team trying to make improvements to the active roster. A report from CBS Sports states that Kupchack has made inquiries with several other NBA teams, but has been hesitant to part with any of the key young players on the roster. Kupchack also stated a blockbuster deal is unlikely.

“There was a flurry of phone calls a couple of weeks ago, most of which I initiated. We have to be careful with what we do. Most of the teams that would have interest in our players would have interest in our young players and we covet our young players pretty highly right now. So it would be tough for us to move a young player. I suspect that there will be more activity going forward, but I wouldn’t suspect a blockbuster deal.”

While addressing the LA Lakers trade rumors, Mitch Kupchack has also kept hope alive for fans wanting to see a deal made this season. The Lakers continue to flounder in the Western Conference standings, having fallen to 8-30 with a third-straight loss on Friday night (January 8). The latest loss came to the Oklahoma City Thunder (117-113), as the team gave up 36 points to Russell Westbrook. The Lakers still own the second-worst record in the NBA, only remaining ahead of the lowly Philadelphia 76ers (4-34).

Kobe Bryant And D'Angelo Russell
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Statistically, there have been some bright spots on offense lately, as D’Angelo Russell is starting to show flashes of why he deserved to be an early first-round pick. Playing against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, January 7, Russell scored 27 points in just 28 minutes off the bench. The consistency wasn’t quite there, though, as he followed that up with just two points in seven minutes against the Thunder. The lack of playing time from coach Byron Scott continues to be puzzling for Lakers fans, many of which don’t understand why he isn’t starting.

On the season, Kobe Bryant leads the Lakers in scoring with 17.6 points per game. He is followed by Jordan Clarkson (15.1), Louis Williams (15.0), D’Angelo Russell (11.7), and Julius Randle (10.6). Williams, along with Nick Young, could be the players most likely to appear in further LA Lakers trade rumors. Both players could be dealt while the Lakers maintain a youth movement. Teams linked to the Lakers include the Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies, but both franchises lack a first-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. It means the Heat or Grizzlies would ned to entice a third team to join the trade discussions if they want Williams or Young badly enough.

There are also LA Lakers trade rumors about Roy Hibbert, especially since his salary comes off the books in the NBA offseason. Hibbert is in line to make just over $15.5 million this season. As for Louis Williams, he is in the first year of a three-year, $21 million deal. Nick Young is also in the first year of a three-year deal that could pay him about $16 million in total. The market for Hibbert has been relatively quiet since the Lakers acquired him from the Indiana Pacers, but a playoff team looking for a center could acquire him for simply a draft pick or two.

Jordan Clarkson #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles past O.J. Mayo #3 of the Milwaukee Bucks during a game at Staples Center on December 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

No deal is imminent for the Los Angeles Lakers, but it is clear that the team wouldn’t mind getting even further under the salary cap for next year. Currently, the Lakers have just over $23 million in dedicated salaries for the 2016-17 NBA season. Dealing Louis Williams and Nick Young would allow the team even more freedom in free agency. Fans shouldn’t trust any LA Lakers trade rumors that include Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Kobe Bryant, or Jordan Clarkson. Anything else could happen as the NBA trade deadline quickly approaches.

[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]