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Lakers Rumors: LA Doesn't Want to Compound Previous Mistakes with More Win-Now Trades

Adam WellsDecember 26, 2022

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 21: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on in the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on December 21, 2022 in Sacramento, 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. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Fans waiting for the Los Angeles Lakers to make a trade that could help the team this season might be disappointed.

Per The Athletic's Jovan Buha, the Lakers front office "doesn't want to compound its previous mistakes with more win-now moves."

Buha noted general manager Rob Pelinka and the Los Angeles brain trust "are still evaluating their options on a dormant trade market," but there has to come a point when they accept the reality at hand.

No one should argue the Anthony Davis trade was a mistake because the Lakers won the 2019-20 NBA championship. The deal looks very favorable to the New Orleans Pelicans right now because they are No. 2 in the Western Conference and have the right to swap first-round picks with the Lakers in the 2023 draft.

The Russell Westbrook trade was a bad deal for the Lakers that made no sense even when it happened. They sent Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell to the Washington Wizards (and the No. 22 pick in the 2021 draft to the Indiana Pacers) for the 2016-17 NBA MVP and three second-round picks.

B/R's Eric Pincus reported LeBron James "was a significant proponent" of the Lakers' adding Westbrook.

Even if the assumption was that Westbrook could ease the burden on James as the primary ball-handler, the fit with those two players made little sense.

Westbrook has been OK primarily coming off the bench this season, but the Lakers would be much better off if they had Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope.

Caldwell-Pope is shooting 46.8 percent from three-point range in 31 starts for the Denver Nuggets this season. Kuzma is averaging a career-high 21.8 points per game for the Wizards.

Stepping back to evaluate where the roster stands is the right perspective for the Lakers. It can be difficult, especially in the Los Angeles market and with James on the roster.

After their Christmas Day loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers are in 13th place in the Western Conference with a 13-20 record. They are only three games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for the final play-in tournament spot, but what will that get them?

Davis is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a stress injury in his right foot. ESPN's Dave McMenamin and Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday that Davis' pain has subsided and he will re-evaluate potentially returning to play in seven to 10 days.

The Lakers are only 11-14 in the 25 games Davis has played this season. Their most valuable trade assets are first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029.

Given the long-term outlook for L.A., especially with James turning 38 on Friday and Davis' being prone to injuries, those future picks have incredible value.

But unless a superstar-level player becomes available in a trade, there's no reason for the Lakers to mortgage either of the draft picks in an attempt to make the play-in tournament.