As we get nearer and nearer to the trade deadline, one of the central discussion points surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers has been whether or not they should consider making a deal of some sort.
Nick Young has been one of the NBA’s best three-point shooters and Lou Williams has been a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, but neither figure to be a part of the Lakers’ long-term future. So everyone has to ask themselves: should the team consider moving them to get back assets, or are they playing well enough that the team should keep them around for continuity purposes?
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss, and the rest of the team’s front office will have to make those roster decisions and several more before the NBA’s February trade deadline. According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, it sounds like the Lakers could be leaning towards keeping the band together:
My understanding is Lakers not overly interested in change. This was a building year, maybe they do it in the summer, doubtful at deadline https://t.co/Cbt7o5X27T— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 2, 2017
It’s important to note that this was a tweet and not a report, but this does mirror Kupchak’s recent comments on the Lakers not being in a rush to swing a big deal.
That being said, the team should at least consider flipping guys like Young and Williams if they can get a young player or draft picks in return. It was one thing to want to keep the whole crew together when the Lakers had positive momentum at 10-10, but the team has been in a 2-15 free fall since then and should be looking for ways to continue to supplement their young core.
Williams has probably been the Lakers’ best offensive player for most of the season and Young has provided sorely needed spacing for the team’s starting lineup, but with both over the age of 30, neither are likely to be around when the Lakers are a winning team again. Especially Young, who only has half a season left on his deal before a player option reportedly worth $5.6 million he’s (against all preseason odds) likely to decline this summer to enter free agency.
Williams’ is an even more attractive candidate for interested teams because his deal is fully guaranteed for $7 million next year, leaving him a cheap asset for a playoff squad looking to supplement their bench scoring.
The Lakers may not be able to find a deal, and they may not be “overly interested in change,” but they should at least be open to it if the right opportunity comes along.