The Lakers find themselves in an interesting situation over the ensuing days. While it feels like the team needs to make a change with the trade deadline approaching, there is no obvious upgrade or a dire need for a move.
Last season, it was abundantly clear the Lakers needed to part ways with Russell Westbrook no matter the cost, that situation isn’t there this season, at least when it comes to trading first round picks.
And that has seemingly made the potential for the Lakers to hold onto their only tradeable first round pick in 2029. It’s a theory that was previously reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN as a legitimate option the team was considering.
On Monday, longtime NBA report Marc Stein added to that, saying it’s an option that is gaining steam.
As I reported below on Jan. 28, keeping their only available first-round pick to trade this week until draft time in June — when they would have three future first-round picks in trades — continues to be an increasingly appealing course for the Lakers.
The names that McMenamin initially reported as the team being interested in included Trae Young and Donovan Mitchell. While both of those players are lofty aims, the general idea has some merit to it.
At the very least, the Lakers can certainly acquire a more talented player in the summer than at the deadline, no matter who it may be. And while that might mean, to a certain degree, not going all-in this deadline on improvements, it could lead to a bigger payoff down the road.
With second round picks to trade, though, it doesn’t mean that the team simply wouldn’t or couldn’t make a move at the deadline. It just would lower the ceiling on those moves.
If nothing else, it’s a scenario the Lakers will be weighing in the coming days. Does the team’s recent improved performances against the Knicks and Celtics indicate they are turning the corner? Or does it further show the inconsistency of this team?
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