Despite sitting outside of the play-in picture at 7-11, the Los Angeles Lakers may not take a proactive approach to upgrading the roster right now.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported Monday the Lakers "don't feel that sense of urgency" after winning five of their last six games. She added Los Angeles is "not necessarily motivated right now to go do something big unless something big presented itself to them."
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.<a href="https://twitter.com/ramonashelburne?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ramonashelburne</a> on the Lakers' sense of urgency to make a trade:<br><br>"They are not necessarily motivated right now to go do something big unless something big presented itself to them." <a href="https://t.co/NKlbFC2hPd">pic.twitter.com/NKlbFC2hPd</a>
A deliberate approach may not be what the players themselves want to see.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported Monday "here is belief shared by leaders in the Lakers' locker room, sources said, that the team is only a couple of players away from turning this group into a legitimate contender."
Perhaps L.A. has turned a corner and the general sense of optimism throughout the franchise is warranted. It's worth noting, however, the team's recent success hasn't come against an array of contenders.
The Lakers started the run with a 13-point win over the Brooklyn Nets, who promptly allowed 153 points in a defeat to the Sacramento Kings two days later. The other four wins came against the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs, both of whom are rebuilding.
Beating losing teams is something Los Angeles should be doing and the results count all the same. But it might be a little premature to assume all is well in Southern California.
Whether general manager Rob Pelinka aggressively pursues trades or waits for opposing GMs to come to him, the same problem seemingly remains: The Lakers don't have many trade assets outside of their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks.
It's difficult to see a path for Pelinka that allows him to land an All-Star-caliber player. Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner, for example, would address a need but probably doesn't lift the team to the top of the Western Conference.
Perhaps that kind of addition isn't necessary if the last few weeks aren't a mirage.