If they want to improve the workforce even further, the Lakers are going to have to set up trades one way or another. Except that it won’t be easy… competing franchises expect one thing from them, and they are not ready to grant this request.
The least we can say is that the Lakers’ options to strengthen themselves are still limited. Since the trio LeBron James-Anthony Davis-Russell Westbrook gobbles up most of the payroll, the Purples and Golds are not an attractive destination for big free agents and this has been seen during the offseason. Now, there are not many people left to fill the roster, at least not of a higher caliber. Ironically, one of the few candidates is… Carmelo Anthony, who played for them in 2021-22.
Suddenly, for lack of being able to proceed otherwise, the leaders must go through exchanges in order to add new parts to the workforce. In particular, we hear about Kyrie Irving, who would also be eyeing an arrival in the City of Angels in order to join Bron there. The latter is also pushing for the Nets star to come, if possible by sending Westbrook. The problem is that at the moment any type of negotiation fails and not only with blacks and whites.
In fact, even if the Brodie scares the competition, given his lackluster performance last year as well as his $47 million in salary, he’s not the only factor seriously penalizing the Californians. The latter lack draft picks in the years to come and therefore wish to keep the remaining few (2027 and 2029). Except that, as commentator Marc Stein recently pointed out, this is precisely what the other teams want, in order to boost the odds of a package offered by GM Rob Pelinka:
LA reluctant to drop draft picks
Apparently, no one wants to make a trade with LA without getting back the two Lakers first-round picks they are able to trade. The Lakers’ well-known lack of trade assets, meanwhile, has derailed their attempts to snatch Irving from the Nets or even carry out any of the Plan Bs they have been discussing, such as with Indiana to acquire Myles Turner and Buddy Hield (or solo Hield).
So far, the Lakers have shown a willingness to give up only one of the two picks…and depending on the transfer partner, they think they’re looking to protect that pick rather than sending him unprotected.
Said like that, it really does not smell good for the Angelinos. We can understand their reluctance, but in fact, this prevents them from being able to come back stronger in 2022-23.
However, it is akin to an obligation for Los Angeles, and not only because it is necessary to regroup after a season which saw them miss the playoffs. If he does not extend by August 4, LeBron will indeed be a free agent next June and if the franchise project does not please him, nothing says that he will then want to stay put. Especially if the prospect of playing with his son Bronny manages to materialize, the young boy having to join the NBA in 2024. Not sure that it will happen among Californians…
The Lakers don’t want to let go of their first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, wanting to hold onto some inning strengths. The concern is that in this way, the Purples and Golds are probably depriving themselves of a better quality 2022-23 campaign.