The Lakers, specifically general manager and vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, has stayed busy discussing potential trades with teams as we near Thursday’s trade deadline.
The biggest chatter seems to be regarding a D’Angelo Russell for Dejounte Murray trade, but after Jarred Vanderbilt suffered a foot injury, talks regarding a 3-and-D wing to take over until he gets re-evaluated in 3-4 weeks have moved to center stage.
How likely will a trade happen? According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, perhaps not all that likely.
It sounds like Russell may have played his way out of trade talks. When you look at the bigger picture, the Lakers are two games above .500 and three and a half games back of the No. 6 seed. While there are trades the Lakers can make to improve, it is hard to envision one that takes them to the top of the Western Conference.
Perhaps just getting back Gabe Vincent and Vanderbilt healthy later in the season will be enough to make a push and be a dangerous team near the bottom half of the West.
It’s important to remember that’s precisely what this core did last year. They won their play-in game and upset the Warriors and Grizzlies as the road team before getting swept in the Western Conference Finals against the Nuggets. That’s not the goal for such a historic franchise, but you also have to operate in reality; maybe no deal can turn this team into a title contender and their best bet is to wait for the summer and use their draft picks to go after someone like Donovan Mitchell.
Pelinka doesn’t have an easy job. He has to show he’s pushing to improve things, as LeBron James has sent out cryptic messages and has a player option for next season, meaning he can walk in the summer.
You don’t want to make a move just to look like you tried and sabotage your future along the way, but you also have to do what’s best for the team long term. Plus, it takes two and sometimes three teams to make a deal, so it’s not all on Pelinka and the Lakers.
We’ll see if a deal ultimately gets done or if this will be a conversation, we circle back to in the summer when the Lakers have more draft picks at their disposal to go after a star.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.