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Report: Lakers focused on ‘internal improvement,’ not Zach LaVine trade

Despite having rumored interest in Zach LaVine, the Lakers are, for now, focused on improving internally and getting healthy before exploring any trades.

Los Angeles Lakers v Chicago Bulls Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Zach LaVine has quickly become the top name on the trade market and not just because he’s the first either. The former All-Star guard is one of the top scorers in the league and will ultimately be one of the top players available this season.

Naturally, the Lakers have been linked to the guard. Not only does he view the Lakers as one of his preferred landing spots but the feeling is mutual, at least to some degree.

But the degree to which they are interested varies on the report. And the last one from longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein in his Substack newsletter paints a new picture. In his newsletter on Monday, Stein reports that the Lakers’ interest in LaVine is “best described (at most) as TBD.”

Furthermore, the Lakers’ focus right now, according to Stein, is on getting healthy.

I’m told the Lakers, at present, are focused on internal improvement, hopeful that getting Jarred Vanderbilt (who is ineligible to be traded this season after signing an extension with the Lakers in September) and Vincent back on the floor regularly will give them a meaningful boost.

You can’t blame the Lakers for this being their approach. Actually, they should probably be commended. In previous years, the Lakers might have viewed the possibility of adding a third star as one too tantalizing to pass up.

And maybe that is the option they ultimately choose, but that there is at least some hesitation should tell you how the team views LaVine as well. He’s not a surefire upgrade, particularly for this Lakers team, and they aren’t treating him as such right now.

If the Lakers get to Dec. 15, or more specifically Jan. 15 as that’s when most of their team could be dealt, and they are a middling team struggling to find its groove, perhaps then they further explore a LaVine trade.

For now, though, LaVine should be nothing more than a distant possibility. He’s not someone who could be an immediate fix — or possibly any kind of fix — and the Lakers are treating the situation as such.

The Lakers have a roster that is deep, talented and had success last season. They should give that group a fair run and that appears to be their approach.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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