Though the Los Angeles Lakers hold the best record in the Western Conference, rumors are circulating that the team is planning to be active on the trade market before the February NBA trade deadline.
With the emergence of numerous title contenders in the league, it makes a lot of sense for the Lakers to continue to find ways in upgrading their roster. According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, a source who is familiar with the Lakers’ thinking revealed that General Manager Rob Pelinka has expressed a willingness to listen to trade offers for any players on their team, except LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Though James and Davis are considered untouchables, making other players available in trade discussions could be a risky move for the Lakers. If they make the wrong deal, it could greatly affect their depth and chemistry. However, many say that the Lakers need to take that type of gamble if they want to strengthen their chance of dominating the Western Conference and winning the NBA championship title for the 2019-20 season.
The Lakers may be sitting in the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference but they lost both of their games against their Staples Center co-tenant, the Los Angeles Clippers, who are a heavy favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy this season. However, as Ganguli noted, though the Lakers are searching for roster upgrades, the team isn’t expected to make “dramatic moves” before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
“Activity often ramps up league-wide in advance of the trade deadline, but the Lakers are still in a fact-finding mode. A person familiar with the team’s plans said the Lakers, who have the best record in the Western Conference, don’t plan to make any dramatic moves, but would be interested in improving the ‘fringes’ of their team if the right deal arises.”
The Lakers may have an interesting trade chip in Kyle Kuzma, but they don’t have assets that could match the salaries of superstars who are or will be available on the trade market before the February deadline.
As of now, the Lakers are only expected to make minor upgrades, instead of any deals that would bring a third superstar to Los Angeles.
In the past months, the Lakers’ interest has been linked to several players, including Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Sacramento Kings, Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards, Andre Iguodala of the Memphis Grizzlies, and Marcus Morris of the New York Knicks.