Report: Lakers believe it’s ‘realistic’ to play .500 basketball before trade options open up in December

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin revealed that the Los Angeles Lakers believe that they can play .500 basketball before more trade options open up on Dec. 15.

On Wednesday’s episode of Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast, McMenamin explained Los Angeles’ desire to play solid basketball before deciding to make a deal.

“What they feel is realistic is playing .500 ball until December 15 when deals start to potentially open around the league because that’s when contracts that were signed this past summer can be traded,” McMenamin said. “And then maybe you can finally make this mythical draft-pick trade that’s been talked about for months and months and months sometime in late December to mid-January and have that be an additional thrust to the type of basketball you’ve already been doing, you’ve already established.”

The Lakers put themselves in a major hole to open the 2022-23 season, losing 10 of their first 12 games, but they have turned things around a bit since, winning three of their last four contests.

What may be even more encouraging for the Lakers is that the team is 3-2 in the last five games without LeBron James. When James returns to the lineup, which he is expected to do on Friday against the San Antonio Spurs, he should provide Los Angeles with a major boost.

Anthony Davis has also been terrific for the Lakers as of late, scoring 30 or more points in four straight games. He’s also dominated on the glass, grabbing 16 or more rebounds in every game on that stretch.

There’s no doubt that the Lakers have some issues on their roster, specifically their lack of outside shooting, but the team is starting to show that it can compete after the slow start to the campaign.

It makes sense that the Lakers and general manager Rob Pelinka would want to wait until Dec. 15 before making a trade, as it gives them the most options to improve the roster.

In all likelihood, the Lakers are going to have to trade a draft pick or two to get an impact player. The team could dangle Russell Westbrook’s expiring salary in a deal, but it was recently reported that the team may hang onto him if he continues to thrive coming off the bench.

The Lakers will have their work cut out for them over the next month or so to get back into the playoff or even just the play-in conversation in the Western Conference, but it’s certainly doable if Davis and James are healthy.

The Lakers’ next two games are winnable, as they take on the San Antonio Spurs in back-to-back contests following Thanksgiving. The Spurs have won just one of their last 10 games.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.