Report: Rival executive expects the Lakers to ‘ride it out for a while’ with their current roster

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

One general manager in the NBA believes that the Los Angeles Lakers will ride out their current roster for “a while” rather than make a deal at this point in the 2022-23 season.

The Lakers are the No. 14 seed in the Western Conference at the moment, and they have struggled mightily on offense this season, ranking last in the league in offensive rating at 105.4.

If the Lakers don’t make a move and simply wait for guard Russell Westbrook’s contract to expire at the end of the season, the team will have cap space to make some moves to improve the roster.

“I think the Lakers are going to ride it out for a while,” one GM who’s been working the phones told Heavy Sports. “I don’t know what else they can do. They have to consider the fact they’re going to have a lot of salary cap space coming up, and do they really want to take that away by spending now on a team that isn’t going anywhere?”

The Lakers are just 3-10 this season, so one move may not even be enough for this team to truly compete this season. The Lakers have to weigh their options in the trade market to gauge whether or not it is worth sacrificing the team’s future simply to push for a playoff spot this season.

The executive doesn’t believe that their options in the trade market will make them contenders, and that they could be better off just standing pat.

“I’ve heard the names that are being thrown around, but I don’t see anything that’s going to give them a real chance at winning anything,” the general manager told Heavy Sports. “They’re better off letting Russell’s $47 million come off the books and seeing where they are then. If they were to find someone to take him now, they’d have to be taking on salary that will push into next year and probably beyond. That’s just sticking them in the mud for more years. The important thing is getting out of the mud, not looking slightly better while you’re in it.”

The bright side for the Lakers is that they don’t have to go all in to win this season, as LeBron James did sign an extension with the team that will at least keep him with the Lakers in the 2023-24 season.

However, punting the 2022-23 season, especially with James playing well, seems like a mismanagement of the four-time champion’s talents.

The issue for the Lakers is they likely would not receive a star player in return for Westbrook, and they likely would need to part ways with their first-round picks in the 2027 and 2029 drafts to really get an impact player this season.

For now, it appears the Lakers will try to turn things around with the current roster before exploring the trade market. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has been patient in his approach with the trade market in the 2022-23 campaign.

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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.