Lakers trade rumors have now grown to include Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell. These LA Lakers trade rumors were quickly refuted in a report by the Orange County Register, even though Lakers fans already took to social media to relay a lack of belief in them. While it’s worth noting that the report doesn’t explicitly say that the Lakers haven’t considered trading the young players, it does relay an opinion that the Lakers won’t be breaking up their young core. Staff writer Dan Woike opined his thoughts on the rumors.
“Unless some significant move comes to the Lakers’ doorstep, you’d think any young piece wouldn’t be on the move come Thursday. Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr. shouldn’t be considered “untouchable,” but the Lakers likely won’t be breaking up their young core. The veterans on the team, sans Bryant, though, could and should be shopped in the upcoming days. Center Roy Hibbert’s expiring deal probably isn’t as valuable this spring as it would be in years past.”
The NBA trade deadline comes at 12 p.m. PT on Thursday, February 18, showing why there has been a steady increase in the number of LA Lakers trade rumors. The team is running short on time to deal veterans on the roster in exchange for younger players or picks in the 2016 NBA Draft. With an 11-44 record during the 2015-16 NBA season, the Lakers are heading right for the draft lottery again. Adding another star college player could certainly help this team become a contender again in the long-term, but will that be enough to appease fans in the short-term?
There are numerous reasons why Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell could actually be considered off-limits in trade discussions. The most important one is that the duo has been playing much better lately. On the season, Randle is averaging 11.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. Randle is one of the few players in the NBA averaging a double-double this season, and he may be an All-Star by next year. Russell is averaging 12.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.
Regarding players mentioned in LA Lakers trade rumors who might actually be available, the team has some good assets. Lou Williams is averaging 15.4 points per game while playing just 29.8 minutes a night. He could give another team depth at the guard position or energy off the bench. Jordan Clarkson is averaging 15.4 points per game and has a lot of value to go with his youth. Williams is owed $7 million for each of the next two NBA seasons, while Clarkson is at the end of his contract.
Center Roy Hibbert and power forward Brandon Bass could also be acquired at the right price. Both players are free agents at the end of the regular season, giving the Lakers every incentive to trade them before the deadline. Hibbert has started 54 games and is averaging 6.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. Bass has come off the bench in 47 games, averaging 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Hibbert and Bass could be low-cost acquisitions for any team needing size. Teams might only have to offer the Lakers a draft pick for either player.
While there are certainly a lot of LA Lakers trade rumors that seem flashy and could turn over the current roster, the most likely scenario is that the team keeps its core intact. That core doesn’t include Lou Williams, Nick Young, Brandon Bass, or Roy Hibbert though. With no chance of making the 2016 NBA Playoffs, trading those players could not only clear up some more cap space but add valuable picks in the 2016 NBA Draft. Fans will likely see more Lakers rumors that include Julius Randle or D’Angelo Russell, but there has been no indication that either is really available.
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