The Los Angeles Lakers’ actions at the trade deadline will reveal a lot about the team’s intentions. Will they stand pat and continue to ride out a longer, more organic rebuilding effort? Or will the front office (potentially as a result of Lakers vice president Jim Buss’ self-imposed deadline to return the team to contention by this summer) make a desperate move and overpay for a star or star-like player in an attempt to force themselves back into the playoff picture?
No one will know until the trade deadline actually passes uneventfully or a move is made, but it certainly doesn’t sound like the team is desperate to make changes. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweeted on Saturday that he’d been told the Lakers were “open to trades but anything involving [their] young guys is very pricey.”
This latest tweet/report lines up with previous comments and smoke signals seen this season. Lakers head coach Luke Walton has said the team “doesn’t want to rely on” trades in order to improve. General manager Mitch Kupchak has said the Lakers aren’t in a rush to trade their young players or even to make a trade before the deadline.
Multiple anonymous reports have also made it clear the prevailing thought out there is that the Lakers don’t want to make a trade right now, especially one involving their young players.
Now if the Cleveland Cavaliers were to actually somehow offer something of substance in their reported pursuit of Jose Calderon? That would seem to theoretically be the type of deal the Lakers might hypothetically be interested in (see the pains I’m going to to make it clear this isn’t me starting a rumor?).
Barring something like that, it certainly would appear Kupchak, Buss and company are prepared to hold steady and let their young core grow naturally.
All stats per NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.