Coming off of their first 35-plus-win season in five years, the Los Angeles Lakers will hope to build on that improvement next season with the help of a few big names players.
Equipped with enough cap space to sign at least one max free agent while also keeping one of the more exciting young teams in the league intact, the Lakers will be big players in free agency this summer. However, they could also choose to use some of promising young players to land a big name player via the trade market.
According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers are keeping their options open, which includes trades involving Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma.
While they like their young core and would prefer to keep those players growing together, they have told teams no player is untouchable in trades, according to multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of trade and free-agent negotiations
To be clear, the Lakers are not actively shopping any of their players. They are willing to listen to offers and could move one of them — even a member of the talented young cadre of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram or Josh Hart — if an offer blows them away.
To an extent, it makes perfect sense that the Lakers would keep all options open. If the New Orleans Pelicans came knocking on their door offering Anthony Davis for Brandon Ingram and a bag Reese’s Pieces, the Lakers would not hesitate to send the 20-year-old forward packing.
However, unless an opposing general manager is on the line with the trade to end all trades, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka would we be wise to stand pat.
With the exception of Kawhi Leonard, who will be a free agent in a year anyway, the number of “available” franchise-altering players on the trade market is small-to-nonexistent. To give up any combination of Ball, Ingram or Kuzma for someone that won’t make the Lakers a championship contender right away would be nonsensical.
I’d imagine this is in line with the Lakers’ thinking, especially with recent comments made by Pelinka saying the team is willing to stay patient, but anything can happen once the clock strikes midnight on July 1.