When it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers, people tend to focus on what they don’t have as much as what they do.
Welcome to the world of Rob Pelinka, Lakers general manager and a person who seemingly can never win in the eyes of LA’s biggest fans.
Nonetheless, Pelinka and the Lakers don’t appear to be in any big hurry, according to outstanding Lakers insider Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
Right now, the Lakers look to be about a middle-of-the-road team that has the potential to steal a big win here and there. Part of that may have to do with injuries, though you have to wonder if the likes of Jarred Vanderbilt (who has yet to play this season), Gabe Vincent and Rui Hachimura will make a massive difference — or just barely noticeable ones. We can’t say for sure one way or the other.
“It’s impossible to make an assessment (at the 20-game mark),” coach Darvin Ham said, via Buha. “You have to continuously just be ready to have plan B-Z sometimes. … We know we have the pieces that once we do get everybody where they’re supposed to be physically, we’ll be able to make a ton of headway in terms of how we continue to progress through the season.”
As far as making trades and adding talent, though, the Lakers seem likely to wait at least until more players across the league become trade-eligible in the middle of December. Or perhaps all the until the early February trade deadline.
“That said, don’t expect a move immediately after Dec. 15,” Buha wrote. “The Lakers plan to take a patient approach to the trade market, team sources not authorized to speak publicly tell The Athletic, and would prefer to see what their group looks like whole before making a monumental roster decision.
“They’re still evaluating their needs and will continue to monitor the league, including potential fire sales in Toronto, Washington, Utah, Brooklyn and/or Charlotte that could make useful rotation players available.”
So if you’re wondering if the Lakers are in panic mode … well, the answer appears to be no. They seemingly want to wait until most of their main men are healthy, then take it from there.
What is the Lakers' biggest early concern?
They have several through 20 games — health, perimeter athleticism and defense, slow starts — but their league-worst 3-point shooting is the factor most likely to hold them back from being a true contender: https://t.co/AQC4SDn63O
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) December 1, 2023