NBA Rumors: LA Lakers will only use first-round picks to secure All-Star-level talent

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers
LA Lakers coach Darvin Ham and GM Rob Pelinka

The LA Lakers continue to be a topic of conversation circling NBA rumors. Their roster has too many glaring weaknesses in various areas. As presently constructed, the Lakers are unlikely to compete against the top teams in the league.

The offseason began with rumors around LA moving Russell Westbrook and their two first-round picks. However, the Lakers have shown tremendous improvement over the last few weeks with their current roster. They went on an 8-2 run before suffering consecutive losses against the Cavaliers and Raptors on the road.

That has allowed them to be patient regarding adding reinforcements to improve their roster. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski's latest report stated about the Lakers' strategy with the trade deadline approaching in a couple of months (via NBA on ESPN):

"I think this stretch has bought them a little bit of time now to really not have to rush into anything... Their strategy remains the same. We know that their assets are, the 2027 and 2029 unprotected first round picks, that they're not going to use those unless they can get back an All-Star level player."

Wojnarowski added that the LA Lakers would keep an eye on organizations like the Chicago Bulls, who could break up their roster if their results don't improve before the trade deadline. He also said that the Lakers might not include both picks in a potential deal.

Also read - NBA Trade Rumors: Russell Westbrook could be the centerpiece of LA Lakers' updated trade deadline options along with two other guards

Assessing the LA Lakers trade options to improve their roster

The LA Lakers need shooters and a defensive big to improve their current roster. NBA rumors suggest they are looking to make smaller deals to cover those needs by packaging the expiring contracts of Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn, along with possibly two second-round picks.

They have been linked to former players like Alex Caruso and Kyle Kuzma among buy-low targets. Buddy Hield continues to be mentioned as a target as well. Caruso would arguably be the best perimeter defender on the team. Hield adds perimeter shooting, while Kuzma would slot into a frontcourt starting job and be the ideal third option behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.


However, it's unclear if the Wizards and Bulls are willing to trade arguably their most coveted trade assets. Both teams have gotten off to an underwhelming start, but if they improve their records around the trade deadline, they may not be keen on becoming sellers.

The LA Lakers could also turn to the Knicks duo of Cam Reddish and Evan Fournier. Reddish would complement the team as an athletic wing with size, while Fournier would be an upgrade as a perimeter shooter (he is a 38.0% career 3-point shooter). The Knicks are reportedly willing to package the two players in a potential trade. It won't be a complicated proposition.

Among the bigger trades featuring Russell Westbrook and at least one of their future first-round picks, the Lakers could target Bulls duo DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic if Chicago pivots to becoming sellers nearing the trade deadline.

The former would make an impact as a consistent 20-point scorer, while the latter would be an excellent backup or pairing alongside Anthony Davis as a floor-spacing big.

So far, these are the only viable and reported trade options linked with the LA Lakers. However, an equal amount of upside and downside comes with almost every trade mentioned above. The Lakers have limited assets, so it's ideal for them to be patient about making moves as the trade deadline approaches.

Also read - Reports: Internal discussions conducted for the LA Lakers' trade around Russell Westbrook & two 1st-round picks to Chicago for DeMar DeRozan

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Edited by Arhaan Raje
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