Even if the Lakers were expected by most to start the season 0-2, the way the two losses have come about have been concerning. Some truly putrid outside shooting paved the way to the two losses and left fans frustrated.
Unsurprisingly, the calls for a trade were quick and immediate, especially as Russell Westbrook was such a central figure of the team’s offensive struggles. However, any hopes from fans of a sudden deal are probably going to fall upon deaf ears.
On Friday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN appeared on NBA Today to discuss the Lakers approach to the trade market currently.
“The deals that were there this summer are essentially what would be there now and those the two-pick deals, which is really the only asset the Lakers have. Their ‘27, ‘29 first round picks. The Indiana deals they talked about, the Utah trades. And I think LA looked at those deals and said ‘Yes, we would be better but we wouldn’t be good enough and they wouldn’t set us up to be a championship-level team.’”
“There’s a level of desperation teams know (the Lakers) have. No one’s going to do a deal with LA but asking for a lot right now. If you’re the Lakers, you really have to wait 20 games, see what teams may start to pivot and look what might be out there for deals that aren’t the two-pick deals...or things start to present themselves where you know there’s going to be tanking for Victor Wenbamyama and all of the sudden, a team has an injury, a team decides instead of chasing the play-in, let’s get in the lottery and I think for the Lakers, they have to be patient.”
In a vacuum, this is the right approach to take for the Lakers considering their assets and what’s available on the market. Teams are going to eventually change their mind or suffer through injury and change course and the Lakers are positioned to take advantage of those teams.
However, obviously, things don’t operate in a vacuum and the Lakers are facing growing pressure. Can they hold out as the outside scrutiny continues or with LeBron throwing shots at the state of the roster? The fact they have leaked multiple times through Woj that they’re going to be patient could either be seen as them being adamant or desperate.
If they can, they could be in line for a reward, but if they can’t, they may be forced into a bad deal. It’s the tightrope the Lakers have to walk, though they have no one to blame but themselves for this situation.