The NBA trade market unofficially opened on Dec. 15 and there’s been little to no noise about what teams are doing, probably because of the surge in COVID cases throughout the league. However, we do know that the Los Angeles Lakers have been active thus far thanks to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic on Wednesday (via The Pat McAfee Show):
“I spoke to LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and he said that talk [of James leaving] in itself is ridiculous and it’s totally false. LeBron James isn’t leaving the Lakers, he’s going to be on the Lakers. The question is: how can the Lakers get better? ... That’s why I’ve heard they have been active in the trade market.”
The first part of the quote is an answer to a question that McAfee asked Charania about the possibility of James leaving, which is only notable if you get your trade rumors from @lebroncomehome2022 on Twitter. Otherwise, it’s just senseless talk, like Charania confirmed.
What is interesting is that the Lakers have been active enough for Charania to feel comfortable reporting it. The Lakers’ involvement in trade talks may seem like a given with how they’ve started the season, but this is also the same team that hasn’t made a move at the trade deadline since Rob Pelinka took over in 2017.
Now, does this mean the Lakers are guaranteed to make a trade before the deadline? No. In fact, when you look at the lack of assets and tradable contracts they have to work with, it can be argued Pelinka has never had less to work with. But the fact remains that this roster needs work and, at the very least, this report suggests the front office is aware of that.
The NBA trade deadline is set for Feb. 10; we’ll see if 2022 is the year that Pelinka finally makes a mid-season move.
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