The Los Angeles Lakers — who currently own the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference at 11-9 — are reportedly monitoring the Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz, Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Hornets as teams that could have fire sales this season.
“That said, don’t expect a move immediately after Dec. 15,” The Athletic’s Jovan Buha wrote. “The Lakers plan to take a patient approach to the trade market, team sources not authorized to speak publicly tell The Athletic, and would prefer to see what their group looks like whole before making a monumental roster decision. They’re still evaluating their needs and will continue to monitor the league, including potential fire sales in Toronto, Washington, Utah, Brooklyn and/or Charlotte that could make useful rotation players available.
“There’s always a chance they strike a move before the February deadline — similar to acquiring [Rui] Hachimura a couple of weeks before last season’s — but a trade is far more likely to come later in the trading window than sooner.”
Out of the Raptors, Wizards, Jazz, Nets and Hornets, only Brooklyn has a .500 record or better. The Nets own a 9-9 record. As for the other four teams, the Raptors are 9-11, Hornets are 6-11, Jazz are 6-13 and Wizards are 3-16.
The Wizards stand out as the worst squad from the list of teams that the Lakers are reportedly monitoring. Washington owns the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference behind only the Detroit Pistons and has won just one of its last 10 games.
Jordan Poole — who the Wizards acquired from the Golden State Warriors via trade in the offseason — has underperformed in his first season with Washington. In 18 appearances with the Wizards so far this season, he is averaging 17.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
Conversely, the Nets have been the best team from the aforementioned group. The Nets own the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference at the moment, meaning they would at least qualify for the play-in tournament if the regular season ended today.
Guard Cam Thomas has played at a very high level for the Nets. He’s played in just nine games for Brooklyn to this point but is averaging a whopping 26.8 points per game to go along with 3.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. He’s shooting 48.4 percent from the floor.
The trade deadline is still very far off, as it isn’t until Feb. 8. Still, Lakers fans should be happy to hear that the team is doing its due diligence months in advance.
The Lakers will take on Jalen Green, Dillon Brooks and the Houston Rockets for the third time this season on Saturday before playing Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns in an In-Season Tournament matchup on Dec. 5.