Lakers Trade Rumors: LAL to Begin Exploring Roster Upgrades After Dec. 15

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVNovember 29, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 28: The Los Angeles Lakers bench looks on during the game against the Indiana Pacers on November 28, 2022 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The struggling Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly waiting for a certain date before they attempt to make upgrades to their roster via trade.

According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Dec. 15 is the target date for the Lakers to begin talking trade since that is the first day NBA teams can trade away players who were signed in free agency during the offseason, giving the Lakers and other teams more flexibility.

Buha noted that the Lakers are evaluating their roster to decide whether they should make a small move or a larger move to address their deficiencies in terms of perimeter shooting and size.

The Lakers are also reportedly considering whether to part with one or both of their tradeable first-round draft picks in 2027 or 2029. Buha reported the team has been reluctant to trade both, but they could be persuaded with a move or moves that they believe make them a contender.

Currently, the Lakers are struggling to contend with a 7-12 record, which puts them 13th in the Western Conference. However, they are only two games out of the final spot in the postseason play-in tournament.

Coming off back-to-back wins over the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers seemed poised to extend their winning streak to three on Monday night when they hosted the Indiana Pacers.

L.A. led by as much as 17 in the fourth quarter and dominated much of the game, but the Pacers chipped away at the deficit and shocked the Lakers when guard Andrew Nembhard hit a three as time expired to give Indiana a 116-115 win.

With the loss, the Lakers wasted a 25-point, 13-rebound, six-assist effort by Anthony Davis, as well as 21 points and seven rebounds from LeBron James.

While the Lakers had about a league-average effort from beyond the arc in the loss to Indiana, shooting 35.5 percent, one of the biggest culprits in L.A.'s struggles this season has been their poor shooting.

For the year, the Lakers are shooting just 32.0 percent from three-point range, placing them 28th among the league's 30 teams.

Max Christie is the Lakers' only player who shoots at least 40 percent from downtown (54.5 percent), but he has only attempted 11 trifectas.

After Christie, Austin Reaves shoots 39.6 percent, Matt Ryan shoots 38.2 percent and Lonnie Walker IV shoots 36.3 percent. Everyone else on the roster makes one-third of their threes or less.

That is not a recipe for success for a Lakers team that is meant to draw attention with James and Davis in order to create open shots for other players.

The Lakers need players who can hit those shots, particularly from three-point range, and it is safe to assume that many sharpshooters will be on their radar when it comes time to seriously consider trades.

One thing the Lakers must weigh, however, is if it would be worth parting with first-round picks when they may not be true contenders in the Western Conference even with some additions.