The Lakers will reportedly forego deals at the trade deadline and look to acquire a star this summer.
The Lakers have one future first-round pick (2029 or 2030) they can trade today, but — due to CBA stipulations — will have two additional future firsts to package in deals beginning in July.
Without a needle-moving star available on the market — especially without making Austin Reaves available — it appears Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka will chase a third star to pair with LeBron James and Anthony Davis over the summer.
LeBron — who has a $51 million player option for 2024-25 that he has not publicly committed to exercising — will turn 40 years old next season. LeBron spent last week sending not-so-subtle jabs at the front office to improve the roster, as he tends to do before the trade deadline.
The Lakers made progress in trade talks centered on D’Angelo Russell with the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, and Toronto Raptors, but nothing came to fruition. Russell has played his best basketball over the last month, and the Lakers internally value him higher than outsiders might think.
Acquiring a game-changer at this deadline was always going to be a challenge. The Lakers have a slew of tradeable contracts, but only two surefire net-positive assets: Reaves and the first-rounder. The value of Russell, Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, and Max Christie varies depending on who you ask.
Stars like Donovan Mitchell, Karl-Anthony Towns, Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, Zach LaVine, and who knows, it’s the NBA! could be available this offseason.
At 27-25, the Lakers are ninth in the Western Conference. West rivals like the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Minnesota Timberwolves struck deals before the deadline.