Well, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic, those are the questions being asked by general manager Rob Pelinka and his team.
It seems the Lakers still are hesitant to give up both of their next two trade-eligible fist-round picks (2027 and ’29), unless of course, such a deal would really move the needle. In other words, if you want those picks, you’d better be willing to move the Lakers closer to contender status.
Sadly for the Lakers, it seems no rival team is there yet. Helping the Lakers get better is only the Lakers’ priority. Other teams don’t care.
Anyway, Buha reported the Lakers initially intended to start the ball rolling on trade talks around Thanksgiving, after they had a chance to evaluate things, around the 20-game mark. But injuries to Davis (who else?) and James pushed all of that back a bit.
Here is what Buha wrote:
“The Lakers are evaluating the roster to determine if they’d prefer to make a smaller move or a bigger one to address the roster’s need for better perimeter shooting and size, team sources tell The Athletic. That includes deciding if they want to include one or both of their tradeable future first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 in any deal. The Lakers remain reluctant to give up both unless there’s a trade – or trades if they split the picks up in separate deals – they believe will elevate them to contender status.”
Clearly, Russell Westbrook and his large, expiring contract could still be moved — though some around the league indicate the Lakers aren’t as desperate to move Westbrook as previously. That’s a result of his improved play off the bench.
What the Lakers need to figure out now, of course, is whether that improved play is a result of a softer schedule lately, or if it’s because they’re actually better these days, as currently constructed.
With an Eastern Conference trip looming at the end of the week, it seems as if we may find out which is which here real soon.