The LA Lakers are reportedly hoping to start playing .500-level basketball before making any trades.
In other news, Lakers star forward LeBron James is reportedly aiming to make his return from injury this Friday.
On that note, here are the latest rumors surrounding the LA Lakers as of Nov. 24, 2022.
LA Lakers hoping to play .500 basketball before they make a trade
It was previously reported that the LA Lakers were going to wait at least 20 games before making any major trades this season. However, after 16 games, the Lakers appear to be moving that marker back. On Wednesday, ESPN analyst Dave McMenamin reported on the “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast about the Lakers' new plan.
“What they feel is realistic is playing .500 ball until December 15 when deals start to potentially open around the league because that’s when contracts that were signed this past summer can be traded," McMenamin said.
"And then maybe you can finally make this mythical draft-pick trade that’s been talked about for months and months and months sometime in late December to mid-January and have that be an additional thrust to the type of basketball you’ve already been doing, you’ve already established,” McMenamin continued.
Considering the Lakers are just 5-11 and 14th in the Western Conference, it’s not a given that they can play .500 basketball over the next few weeks. So at this point, many are starting to question how serious the Lakers' front office is about improving the team.
For the full episode of the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast, click here.
LeBron James is expected to make a return for the Lakers on Friday versus the Spurs
LeBron James is reportedly expected to rejoin the Lakers on Friday against San Antonio. This comes after James missed the Lakers' last five games with an adductor strain. The update came via NBA sideline reporter Chris Haynes during the Lakers’ 115-105 Tuesday night loss to Phoenix.
If James returns on Friday, that would mark just over two weeks since he suffered his injury on Nov. 9th against the LA Clippers. The Lakers have gone 3-2 in James’ absence. However, all three wins have come against teams below .500.
For more on LeBron James' expected to return from injury, click here.
Russell Westbrook’s likely next team after the Lakers revealed
LA Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook has been the subject of trade rumors for many months. The Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and Charlotte Hornets have been rumored to be interested in taking back Westbrook’s $47.1 million salary along with picks. However, in every rumored deal, Westbrook is expected to be bought out if traded.
According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, if Westbrook is indeed traded and bought out, the Miami Heat is his likely next destination.
“If Westbrook is bought out, the buzz around the league has him signing with the Miami Heat,” Pincus wrote.
The Miami Heat have also had a disappointing, injury-riddled season. They are just 8-11 and 12th in the Eastern Conference. Signing Russell Westbrook on the buyout market likely wouldn't move the needle too much for Miami.
However, given their renowned “Heat Culture,” it makes sense why Miami would be willing to take a chance on the maligned veteran.