With under a month remaining until the trade deadline, the Lakers remain largely out of the conversation. While their name keeps getting bandied about from time to time, it’s largely been in the context of not being involved in trade talks.
They don't seem interested in Zach LaVine considering how much it would take to land him and they don’t seem to have enough to get Dejounte Murray.
The moves might come around the edges, but the Lakers don’t seem inclined to dive into the trade market yet. Still, have the latest rumors offered anything new on that front?
Let’s take a look at them.
D’Angelo Russell not a valuable chip
When D’Angelo Russell signed his deal this offseason, it was immediately seen as the type of contract that could be moved at the deadline. The problem is that Russell is largely a known commodity at this point in his career and, while he’s made small improvements in his game, it’s not enough for teams to be willing to desire him on the market.
In his latest piece on Thursday, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported that Russell isn’t garnering much value on the trade block.
Around the league, D’Angelo Russell’s $17 million salary has not been viewed as a valuable trade chip for the Lakers to bolster their roster behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
As much as a contract can be tradeable, there has to be the right situation for a deal to be made. And right now, that situation isn’t available. There isn’t a team that needs Russell or a deal that makes sense right now.
Things can change in the coming month, but nothing jumps off the page right now, meaning Russell might need to find his groove again with the Lakers.
Austin Reaves remains off the table
This isn’t breaking news, but Reaves is very valued by the Lakers. Repeatedly this season, it’s been made clear he is not on the trade block and you can add Fischer’s latest report to that list.
Los Angeles has continued to tell teams it doesn’t want to part with Austin Reaves, sources said.
On top of being a good player, perhaps the most important thing that Reaves has is the trust of Anthony Davis and LeBron James. The pair will openly defer to him late in games and trust that he can make the right play.
That is not something quickly acquired quickly or easily. And if the Lakers are moving him for someone, they almost certainly won’t have that level of freedom in big games and big moments.
Lakers looking at potential role players?
It seems more likely at this point that any move the Lakers make at the deadline would be swapping out role players to try to fit some needs. Who might be a target for them? Well, Jovan Buha of The Athletic threw out some names that could be noteworthy (emphasis mine).
The Lakers have several needs, but the buzz around the organization is that offense — particularly 3-point shooting and downhill athleticism — are the areas they hope to address within the next month. That could come in the form of a splashy trade for Zach LaVine or Dejounte Murray, or a smaller move for a role player like Dorian Finney-Smith, Royce O’Neale or Terry Rozier.
It should be made clear, since media literacy is more of a struggle than it should be, that none of this is actually reporting that the Lakers are going after these players. But all of them have been linked to the Lakers at some point.
LaVine and Murray are not new names to Lakers fans recently and the team actually has been linked to the other names listed. Around the draft last year, the Lakers were linked to Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale in a potential deal to trade away their first round pick.
With Rozier, their interest has often been linked to a potential Russell Westbrook trade but could be reignited with the team needing an offensive improvement.
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