Yes, it's true - after only 2 pre-season games, I've decided that - unless they get a "no brainer" deal - the Lakers best move for both now and the future is just to sit on their picks.
"Preposterous!", you object.
"BALDERDASH!", you say.
"F them picks! The Lebron James Era won't last long so the Lakers need to win now."
All that is true, but, let's face it: the Lebron James Era has been and will continue to be tied to Anthony Davis' health. As we've seen, the CBA make it nigh impossible to pick up a 3d star via trade or free agency and still have enough roster depth to win if AD goes down. He simply can't be replaced - he's too important and his cap hit is too high.
As we've also seen, the Lakers can win with a healthy AD and quality role players. If the Lakers can't get those guys via a "no brainer" trade, then they're better off making due with what they have this season, and then picking up those quality role players in the offseason - they'll have enough cap space to pick up one FA at $15-18m and 2 FAs at $6-10m (and a mid-level?)...that should be enough to build a contender for the rest of the Lebron Era if AD is healthy.
Yes, that means the Lakers will have to make due with what they have this season. Again, it all depends on health - whether they trade Russell Westbrook or not. If both AD and Lebron are healthy, they have a chance avoid the play-in tourney. Get some favorable match-ups and who knows? If only 1 of the 2 are healthy, they probably back into the play-in. If neither are healthy, NO gets a lottery pick.
That's a very long and drawn out way of saying: trading Westbrook probably won't significantly improve the Lakers chances of winning this season. Their fortunes are inextricably tied to health: primarily AD's but also Lebron's. If one or both go down, it will be an uphill struggle no matter who they get. Ergo, there's not point of trading him, unless they get the proverbial offer they can't refuse.
By 2027, Austin Reaves (29), Cole Swider (28), Scottie Pippen Jr (26) and/or Max Christie (24) should be decent rotation guys on or nearing the end of their first extensions. That means they won't break the bank or - more importantly - play the Lakers out of a lottery spot. Draft well and supplement them with veteran free agents or use them as trade assets and Lakers could be looking at a 5-7 year run of contention.
Yes, that's a long ways away. Yes, the Lakers would have to commit to developing and retaining these guys even though these guys will never lead the Lakers to a championship.
After all, isn't that one of the reasons they got Darvin Ham? He has a history of developing talent and that's just what these guys need. Extending them when they're not superstars ensures that you lock them into cap-friendly contracts that can round out the rotation.
Moreover, those contracts can be combined in a trade with one or more of those picks the Lakers didn't F to get a real value deal.
So, yeah...if Indiana wants to give us Hield, Turner and an unprotected #1 then by all means: MAKE THE CALL ROB!!!
But unless that or something comparable comes up, the Lakers should just sit tight and ride it out. I've decided it's just not worth it to do anything else. No, my "decision" and $5 won't buy you a venti iced Pumpkin Spice Latte with two pumps of white mocha sauce, two pumps of apple brown sugar syrup and finished with extra caramel drizzle and cinnamon dolce topping but that's not important right now. What is important is that I've made it and it's now part of the internet (muahahaha!).
Then again, I suppose they could always try to trade Anthony Davis...