The Los Angeles Lakers were off to an 8-28 start heading into their nationally televised Thursday night showdown with the Sacramento Kings. Before the game, Time Warner Cable Sportsnet host Chris McGee's interviewed Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, and the longtime Lakers' executive gave a few details on the team's plans moving forward.
Given the Lakers' struggles this season, many have wondered if the team will be sellers at the trade deadline, and Kupchak confirmed to McGee that the team was evaluating their options.
"There was a flurry of phone calls a couple of weeks ago, most of which i initiated," said Kupchak, who explained the Lakers "have to be careful with what we do. Most of the teams that would have interest in our players would have interest in our young players and we covet our young players pretty highly right now. So it would be tough for us to move a young player."
As far as any fans hoping for a big trade to fix the Lakers' problems in the middle of the season, Kupchak quashed that idea, telling McGee "I suspect that there will be more activity going forward, but I wouldn't suspect a blockbuster deal."
This strategy makes sense given the Lakers' record and the fact that it is essentially impossible for the team to make the playoffs at this point. Rather than an in-season mega-trade, Kupchak made it sound like the team is looking to free agency as it's next avenue to improve, using the young Lakers he says the team values as a recruiting tool.
"I think if we can develop four or five players going forward that look as if they belong in this league, with all of our financial flexibility going forward we'll be in a position to attract complimentary, or even more than complimentary, players to play with them in free agency," said the Lakers general manager before acknowledging that such pitches were "very difficult for us to do last year because we really didn't have much to sell."
If Kupchak is not including the player the team would draft with a 2016 first round pick that it will lose to Philadelphia if it falls outside the top-three selections, out of the players currently on the Lakers' roster that four or five number would include Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell, Larry Nance, Jr., and possibly Anthony Brown.
Developing their young players and augmenting that core with free agency is not a bad way for the team to proceed forward, they will just have to remain patient while doing so. After two consecutive years of setting the worst record in franchise history and heading for a third, it remains to be seen if the Lakers will be able to do so.
All quotes transcribed via Time Warner Cable Sportsnet.