The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly are expected to wait until after Thanksgiving in the 2022-23 NBA season to gauge the trade market.
"I'm told to expect Rob Pelinka and the Lakers to wait until post-Thanksgiving, 20 games into the season and see what teams may start pivoting, who don't start off well."@wojespn on what kind of moves the Lakers can make with their rosterpic.twitter.com/F4MNBN7ArR
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) October 19, 2022
It’s an interesting decision by Los Angeles, as it means the team is comfortable playing about a quarter of the 2022-23 season with the roster it currently has assembled.
The Lakers have been rumored to be shopping nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook since the offseason, but the team was unable to find a deal that it was willing to make.
The issue with a Westbrook trade is that the Lakers would almost certainly have to part ways with at least one of their available first-round picks (in the 2027 and 2029 NBA drafts).
Since Westbrook is in the final year of his contract, the Lakers have been reluctant to this point to include significant draft capital in a deal to move off of Westbrook and add more talent to the roster.
It seems that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is content with letting head coach Darvin Ham attempt to win with the roster the team put together this past offseason.
The Lakers did make some moves, signing Lonnie Walker IV, Dennis Schroder, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones and Thomas Bryant in free agency, as well as trading for guard Patrick Beverley.
Still, Los Angeles did not look good in its season opener against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
It’s only one game, but the Lakers struggled to shoot the ball from beyond the arc and eventually lost to Golden State by 14 points, 123-109.
Superstar forward LeBron James still looked fantastic in the loss, as he put up 31 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists while making 12 of his 26 shot attempts.
The Lakers and Pelinka certainly want to maximize James’ time with the team, and that may mean making a trade to improve the roster, even if the Lakers have to sacrifice draft capital.
By waiting 20 games into the season, it’s possible the Lakers could open up more potential trade partners if a team gets out to a slow start and tries to move off of veterans or even expiring contracts.
For now, the Lakers’ focus will be on improving their play over the next month in hopes that they can contend for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.