Injuries have altered a number of things for the Lakers this season, whether it be from an in-game perspective or a roster-building one. Darvin Ham’s starting lineups and rotations have changed nightly and the front office hasn’t been able to evaluate the roster.
As a result, Dec. 15 is fast approaching and the Lakers still have a host of questions unanswered about their team. LeBron James said as much recently when trying to evaluate the team at the quarter mark of the season. And when it comes to any trades, the Lakers still are in wait-and-see mode.
In his latest piece for The Athletic, Jovan Buha wrote about the team’s approach to the trade market in the coming weeks.
That said, don’t expect a move immediately after Dec. 15. The Lakers plan to take a patient approach to the trade market, team sources not authorized to speak publicly tell The Athletic, and would prefer to see what their group looks like whole before making a monumental roster decision. They’re still evaluating their needs and will continue to monitor the league, including potential fire sales in Toronto, Washington, Utah, Brooklyn and/or Charlotte that could make useful rotation players available.
On top of needing to get a better sense of what they do and do not have with the current roster, the Lakers also don’t have the entire team available to trade on that date. There are a number of reasons it wouldn’t make sense for them to explore a trade in two weeks when Dec. 15 — the date the majority of players signed during free agency can be dealt — comes around.
There have been areas the team looks like it’s lacking so far this year, but so much of that could also be attributed to injuries. Their shooting or defensive concerns could be fixed by wings getting healthy.
The good news is that the Lakers certainly looked as good as they have all season on Saturday after finally getting back to nearly full health. And if that’s a sign of what’s to come, then drastic changes won’t need to be made at any point.
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