Lakers trade rumors have been addressed by team general manager Mitch Kupchack. Regarding all the LA Lakers trade rumors floating around the NBA, the man in charge had a very specific answer about what his team plans to do before the NBA trade deadline on February 18. In a report by ESPN.com, Kupchack states that, “I think it’s unlikely that something will happen.” That’s pretty specific, even as the Lakers continue to be mentioned in deadline deals involving their veteran players.
One of the reasons there have been so many LA Lakers trade rumors is that the team has veteran players in their final contract years. Those players include Roy Hibbert, Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Bass, Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre, and Metta World Peace. Several more veterans have been linked to trade rumors because moving them could help the Lakers get further under the NBA salary cap for the 2016-17 season. Those players: Lou Williams and Nick Young.
With the Lakers at risk of losing their 2016 first-round draft pick, it would help the team to start trading away pieces that could help them win games in the second half. The Toronto Raptors own the Lakers’ pick for 2016, but it is protected if it falls within the top 3 picks. This gives the Lakers a lot of incentive to keep losing games after the All-Star break. The team has been very good at it so far, posting an 11-44 record in Byron Scott’s second season as the coach.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Byron Scott could be at risk of getting fired very soon. This will be the second-straight season he has guided the Lakers to one of the worst records in the league, despite having a payroll north of $72 million this year. Mitch Kupchak could give him some more talent to work with in the second half, but the Kobe Bryant retirement tour has made it very difficult to stay competitive in games against the best teams in the Western Conference.
Kupchak did speak at length about the LA Lakers trade rumors and what the plan for the team is as the NBA trade deadline gets closer to arriving at 12 p.m. PT on Thursday, February 18.
“There is an awful lot of interest in our young players, and I don’t think it’s likely that we’ll do anything there. A lot of the other players are on one-year deals, expiring contracts, which strategically could affect the offseason in terms of cap room and stuff like that. There’s a lot of conversation, but I think it’s unlikely that anything significant will happen. Well, I mean, of course Kobe’s not going to be traded. That’s 100 percent. I don’t see anything significant happening between today and tomorrow.”
At one point, Kupchak talked about the Lakers being unlikely to do anything, but by the end of his interview he was stating that he doesn’t see anything “significant” taking place. This might allude to the Lakers pursuing a trade that involves one of their outgoing veterans, or it could simply be his way of stating that the team won’t make a move unless it gets floored by an offer. The Lakers have a lot of pieces that could lend to the team being part of a multi-player trade, especially if a draft pick is coming back in return.
There are a lot of teams around the league that could use a player like Roy Hibbert in the low post for the remainder of the NBA season. Those teams include the Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, LA Clippers, Houston Rockets (if they deal Dwight Howard), and especially the Memphis Grizzlies. The injury to Marc Gasol would actually make Memphis a great fit if the LA Lakers do decide to make a deal. As it stands, though, Mitch Kupchak says the Lakers may just keep the roster intact.
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