The Lakers started the season by leaking that they were not planning to make a trade until they had 20 games to judge this team. 20 games soon became Dec. 15, the date the trade market expands because deals signed last summer are eligible to be dealt.
Now, there was never a guarantee the Lakers would make a move on that exact day, but on Dec. 16 — as expected — a new timeline has been laid out as the front office publicly kicks the rusty, tetanus-ridden can filled with Lakers fans’ collective hopes down the road once again.
How do we know? Well, on Friday morning, Jovan Buha reported in his latest story for The Athletic that in addition to the Lakers having some truly insane trade market dreams, the team is also not expected to get a deal done for at least a few weeks:
When are the Lakers likely to make a trade?
Not for at least two to four weeks (the end of December through mid-January), according to multiple league sources with knowledge of their plans.
NBA trade history shows that trades don’t happen until January on the early side. Most happen within the final week of the trade deadline. There are exceptions, of course, and the Lakers hope to be one of them.
The Lakers have an urgency to get a deal done sooner than later. The sooner they improve their roster, the sooner they can turn their season around. But they’re also at the mercy of the trade cycle and the other teams’ developing motives.
December 15 marked the unofficial start of trade season.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) December 16, 2022
Here is a trade FAQ on the Lakers for the upcoming weeks, including intel on who’s available, teams and players they’re interested in, and a more realistic timeline for a trade: https://t.co/6ZJTPTZ5YT
Now, there is a degree of veracity to that line of thinking, because as a few reporters outlined yesterday, mid-December deals are rare:
Anything can happen, but a good primer on the Dec. 15 action. Was talking to some NBA folks last night who didn't expect trades to begin in earnest until next month. While Dec. 15 is a key date, there is hardly ever a ton of trade activity around then. https://t.co/kWFPKx2d3q— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 14, 2022
Still, this leak is approximately what my co-host Anthony Irwin and I predicted was going to happen on our latest podcast, so it’s also not really a surprise. This front office seems content to keep selling fairy dust and wild dreams in the hopes one of them will fall in their laps rather than show urgency to help this team compete better now. Expect that once mid-January rolls around we’ll hear “well, it’s really hard to make a deal until the deadline, as deadlines create action” or something like that.
At least at that point, we’ll only have a month to wait to see if anything actually gets done.