While the reports of who the Lakers are connected to have largely slowed down or been placed on repeat, it doesn’t mean the team isn’t still working to get deals done.
Now sitting less than 48 hours away from the trade deadline, talks are going to get more and more serious. And the Lakers are remaining active, if not also diligent and patient.
The latest reports and rumors offer some insight into the Lakers' approach for the coming days.
Rob Pelinka remaining busy
While the Lakers were putting the finishing touches on the fourth win of their Grammy road trip, vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka was watching from afar. The deadline requires constant monitoring with things able to flip on a dime.
So it should come as no surprise that Pelinka was reportedly on the phone all day on Monday, as noted by Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
While wins over quality opponents such as the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks were encouraging, and even the Hornets win required some temerity to stave off a late run by a young ballclub playing with no pressure, Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka was “stuck on calls” all day, a team source told ESPN, discussing potential deals.
It’s worth noting that even at this point a year ago, there were zero reports suggesting D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley would be the return for Russell Westbrook.
Things can form quickly this time of year.
The most valuable trade asset
The Lakers don’t have many trade assets right now, so it’s not particularly hard to rank them or determine which ones the rest of the league finds valuable. Or one, really.
According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, there’s only one asset the rest of the league really wants.
There is only one Lakers asset available in a trade that rival teams truly covet: their 2029 first-round pick.
Draft picks in the post-LeBron years — presuming he’s still not playing in 2029 — are going to have a lot of value. Perhaps that’s why the Lakers feel they can really go big fish hunting this offseason.
Only having the one desirable asset, though, also shows how difficult it is for the Lakers to make upgrades this week.
Austin Reaves remains off the table...mostly
The one constant throughout trade season this year has been that Austin Reaves hasn’t been included in it. The Lakers have remained adamant that he has effectively been untouchable — something fans did not necessarily agree with — and haven’t budged from that stance.
The truth is he isn’t entirely untouchable, but he’s not someone who is going to be moved for just anyone. And certainly not for anyone on the market currently, at least according to Buha.
Austin Reaves, whom teams continue to ask for in negotiations, remains off the table barring a clear-cut All-Star shockingly becoming available, according to league sources granted anonymity because they’re not authorized to speak publicly.
While that rules him out for now, it’s going to make for some very interesting conversations this summer if the Lakers hold out and do not move a first-round pick at the deadline. Would they move him for Donovan Mitchell or Trae Young?
That discussion is likely to be tabled for now and come back to the forefront in about four or five months.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.