The frustration with the Lakers front office this season has largely centered on their hesitance to do a Russell Westbrook trade. After spending a summer shopping him without agreeing to a deal, the team then set an arbitrary 20-game mark before they’d look for a deal in-season.
As we all know, that deadline came and passed on Wednesday, but not before the Lakers pushed the mark back to Dec. 15. This time, though, it seems as though the Lakers are serious about making a deal.
On the latest episode of the That’s OD podcast, Dave McMenamin of ESPN spoke about the Lakers’ activity in the trade market and was both optimistic and insistent that the Lakers would be making a deal.
“Talking to people around the Lakers organization the last week or so, I am convinced that the Lakers will make a trade or trades to improve this team. I think the figuring out period, “prove it to us” period has passed. They have proven it. They’ve seen Anthony Davis playing at this bubble level. They’ve seen LeBron James' committment on the court and off the court...and they’ve also seen some of these younger pieces have started to fit around those stars that it is worth it to trade — they’d prefer to only trade one of those two picks but certainly it’s worth it to trade some of the current salary that they have, attach a pick or two picks to it and get this team better. I certainly anticipate by mid-January, if not sooner, we’re talking about an imminent trade.”
McMenamin also noted that the Lakers expect more teams to engage them in trade discussions on December 15, the date teams can trade players signed in the offseason. That will open up a number more trade possibilities and could lead to a deal that hasn’t been previously reported coming up.
Jovan Buha of The Athletic also recently reportedly the team was weighing a number of options when it came to trades, something he also wrote about on Thursday. Effectively, the Lakers could be looking to make a smaller deal involving Kendrick Nunn and Patrick Beverley along with a pick as a hedging of bets instead of going all-in on a deal.
It’s a deal that might have a lower ceiling but also has a higher floor. And considering how risky of a proposition it would be for the Lakers, you wouldn’t fall the front office for taking this approach.