Los Angeles Lakers (8-30) are on course for their worst season in franchise history. In an effort to improve their overall roster strength, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak made a few trade calls a few weeks back. Unfortunately, those calls have proven futile, according to a source.
Despite the rapid development of their young core led by D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, the Purple & Gold have a lot of flaws to iron out heading into the next season. “There were a flurry of phone calls a couple of weeks ago, most of which I initiated,” Kupchak revealed a few days ago.
Kupchak, a former Laker, said his team was carefully analyzing the trade market ahead of the deadline on February 18. “We have to be careful with what we do (in the trade market). Most of the teams that would have interest in our players would have interest in our young players (Russell, Randle and Clarkson) and we covet our young players pretty highly right now. So it would be tough for us to move a young player.”
Russell & Randle un-tradable
The players most likely to be dealt are Louis Williams, Nick Young and Roy Hibbert. Sources reveal that the lottery picks (Randle and Russell) are literally un-tradable as they are viewed as future franchise cornerstones. While Clarkson is still viewed as a future All-Star, he could be dealt if a tempting offer comes the Lakers’ way.
Kupchak said the Los Angeles Lakers are resisting a major move that could land a superstar player. “I do suspect that there will be more activity going forward, but I wouldn’t suspect a blockbuster deal.” If Lakers intend to land a superstar, they have to sacrifice the likes of Russell and Randle, a move that is strongly opposed by the Buss family.
The Lakers GM admitted that his team didn’t have much to offer in the trade market. “If we can develop four or five of our players going forward that look as if they belong in this league, with all of our financial flexibility going forward we’ll be in a position to attract complementary, or even more than complimentary, players to play with them in free agency,” said Kupchak, while acknowledging that such trade pitches are “very difficult for us to do last year because we really didn’t have much to sell.”
With Kobe Bryant’s contract coming off the books, the Lakers will have more than $60 million in cap space next summer. Last year, while most teams endured a frantic Trade Deadline, the Lakers were the least active team. Once again, a plethora of trades are expected to go down. Will the Los Angeles Lakers make some moves?