Lakers insider believes they are going to do 'everything they can' to retain 2027 and 2029 1st-round picks - Lakers Daily

Lakers insider believes they are going to do ‘everything they can’ to retain 2027 and 2029 1st-round picks

Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka

The Los Angeles Lakers will reportedly do what they can to hold onto their first-round draft picks in both 2027 and 2029.

Jovan Buha of The Athletic answered questions from fans and indicated that the Lakers’ mindset might change if they can deal away Russell Westbrook or find a way to aid their overall lineup by using one of the picks.

“Based on their deadline activity, and everything that I’ve heard dating back to last season, I think the Lakers are going to do everything they can to retain their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks,” Buha wrote. “But if trading one of the picks is the best path to dumping Westbrook and/or significantly improving the roster, I think they will strongly consider it.”

Westbrook was acquired during the past offseason and was seen as a major boost to the Lakers’ hopes of winning another NBA title.

However, it became apparent that Westbrook’s inability to establish on-court chemistry with his teammates was not helping the team. That issue was magnified by key injuries to Anthony Davis and LeBron James that ended up resulting in the Lakers not even reaching the postseason.

While Westbrook can still produce solid numbers on the court, his huge contract for next season is one of the chief reasons why trading him to another team is difficult.

Westbrook has a player option for the 2022-23 season that’s set to pay him just over $47 million, with the expectation being that he will pick up the option. That presumably means that the Lakers would have to sweeten any potential trade involving Westbrook.

Past Lakers trades required mortgaging some of the team’s future. That’s why the team is seemingly focused on top picks toward the end of the decade.

There’s no guarantee that the Lakers will end up dealing Westbrook during the offseason, even if that seems like the best course of action for both sides. That means that the franchise’s win-now mentality may result in the team eventually surrendering a top future pick.