LA Lakers GM Rob Pelinka is keeping his team’s cards close to his chest as the February trade deadline approaches. He’s already made one deal, which has caused a stir among basketball fans, particularly LA Nation.
Here’s Pelinka on how the Lakers are tackling the next two weeks or so before trading in the NBA stops this season:
“We’re canvassing the league on ways to get better. With me, that’s talking to 29 other teams and their GMs and just keeping a case, checking in every few days. …. Doesn’t mean our work’s finished [after acquiring Hachimura].
“We’re gonna continue to monitor the situations of the 29 other teams. … Our job is to always look to improve our team both now and in the future and we felt like Rui [Hachimura] was the perfect way to do that.
Rui Hachimura’s acquisition in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks had social media buzzing. LA Lakers fans felt that the move was long overdue to address the team’s lack of size and length.
The former Washington Wizards forward is also an intriguing addition as he could bring some much-needed scoring punch from the perimeter. LA is dead last in 3-point shots made in the entire NBA with just 10.5 per game.
The Japanese international had a blistering 2021-22 campaign from deep, hitting 44.7% of his trifectas. The clip has dropped to 33.7% this season, which is something most analysts believe is sustainable with the LA Lakers.
The Lakers are likely not done, though, trying to upgrade their roster to maximize LeBron James’ historically-great season. Anthony Davis is reportedly available tonight versus the San Antonio Spurs. Rob Pelinka might have to aggressively pursue legit reinforcements.
Several names have been linked with Darvin Ham's squad heading into the trade deadline. Doug McDermott, Buddy Hield, Bojan Bogdanovic, Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine are just a few names that are reportedly under the LA Lakers’ radar.
The LA Lakers might have to trade one or both the 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to contend for the title this season
Teams who weren’t interested in trading with the LA Lakers in the offseason could be more accommodating this time around. Rival executives who are doing their best “Wobble for Wembanyama” strategies might be enticed to help Rob Pelinka if the price is right.
The Pistons are reportedly looking for at least a first-round pick for Bojan Bogdanovic. Any talks involving Zach LaVie will most assuredly include the draft capital Rob Pelinka has been desperately holding on to for dear life.
The most popular trade scenarios out there involving that coveted draft capital almost always include Russell Westbrook and his expiring contract. Westbrook’s massive $47 million salary has already been paid past the halfway point, which makes him more attractive than ever for a trade.
Putting in one or both of these picks will be an offer rival teams will find hard to refuse. How the LA Lakers will participate in trade talks in the next two weeks will depend on Pelinka’s willingness to spend and spend big.
If LA retains the status quo, the franchise might live to regret it. LeBron James’ mind-boggling play and Anthony Davis’ return could push Rob Pelinka to aggressively pursue the players they want to help them contend for the title.
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