The Los Angeles Lakers brought back most of their core from a 2022-23 season in which they made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
Despite doing that and bringing on some players who will likely play big roles in Gabe Vincent, Christian Wood and Taurean Prince, some moves might still happen.
Lakers insider Jovan Buha believes that the team will make a move at the trade deadline, which is set for Feb. 8 this season.
“I also think the Lakers are gonna make a move at the trade deadline,” Buha said. “I think they are one move away from the final roster.”
Of course, lots of things can happen between now and then. By that time in February, the Lakers will have a more defined idea of what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Perhaps some offseason acquisitions won’t be performing at the level that was envisioned. That was the case last season with Patrick Beverley, who was traded to the Orlando Magic after appearing in 45 games with the Lakers and averaging 6.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game on 34.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Looking up and down the Lakers’ current roster, one player stands out as a possible trade chip: D’Angelo Russell. He re-signed with the Lakers in the offseason despite there being some pessimism about his future with the team.
The former No. 2 overall pick from the 2015 NBA Draft inked a two-year deal worth $36 million. Something interesting to note is that he reportedly waived the implied no-trade clause in his contract, which makes a potential trade involving him this season easier to facilitate. He cannot be traded until Dec. 15 of this year and holds a player option for the the second year of his deal.
Only time will tell if the Lakers do make any notable moves at the trade deadline. Before last season’s deadline, they acquired Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura and others in a massive shake-up of the roster.
They rallied to make the play-in tournament and eventually the Western Conference Finals, but they were unable to get past the eventual champion Denver Nuggets, who swept them in four games.
Despite that sour ending, things seem to be going very well for the team. LeBron James is healthy and has apparently regained the athleticism and burst he had before injuring his foot last season. Head coach Darvin Ham also warned that James and Anthony Davis are as “hungry as ever” this season.
The hype surrounding the Lakers is real, and it’s looking like the team will be a serious contender once the regular season starts.