Report: Lakers aren’t poised to go ‘big-game hunting’ this offseason

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

This NBA offseason is expected to be one of the most newsworthy in quite some time, but the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t in position to go “big-game hunting,” according to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

“But there’s no big-game hunting out there for this Laker organization,” Wojnarowski said at the 1:06 mark.

“In this league right now with a new collective bargaining agreement, you can’t really…have three max contracts, three superstars and expect to have any depth on your roster. It’s going to look a lot the same, but think about a team next year that goes the entire season, with [Rui] Hachimura, with [Austin] Reaves as your starter. They’ve got a chance to be very, very competitive in the West.”

The idea that the Lakers can be very competitive without a headline-grabbing addition is supported by their run to the Western Conference Finals last season.

Dwyane Wade said he believed that an injury to LeBron James late in the season actually helped the roster’s growth, and the team definitely improved as the season went along, rallying to get into the play-in round and knocking off the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors in the playoffs before being swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets.

Hachimura gave the Lakers a boost after he arrived in January in a trade with the Washington Wizards, and Reaves seemed to get better with each passing game late in his second NBA season.

Los Angeles reportedly intends to match any offers the players receive as restricted free agents. The Lakers also could bring back unrestricted free agent D’Angelo Russell.

Any significant buzz the Lakers generate likely will be if they lose a player such as Reaves rather than adding someone. Of course, if James does somehow follow through on his hints at retirement, that would flip the offseason news cycle upside down.

The Lakers hold the No. 17 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday and reportedly are considering trading it. It is unclear if they are looking to add to their future selections or trying to acquire an older player who can help right away.

Based on Wojnarowski’s words, it seems exceedingly unlikely the Lakers will make a big splash this summer, such as a rumored reunion of James and Kyrie Irving in a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks.

Perhaps Lakers fans will spend their free time debating whether or not James deserves a statue outside Arena instead. But with a “major reset” expected for the league this offseason, things can change quickly, so maybe the Lakers do have a trick up their sleeve to significantly change their lineup.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.