Lakers keep assets to pursue a 3rd star in offseason
Despite months of rumors, the Lakers did not make a trade at the deadline. Chris Haynes reported that LA is standing pat so they can make a move for a star in the offseason with three tradeable first-round picks.
Donovan Mitchell is the star the Lakers are confident they can land in the offseason. However, there are many complications. For one, Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers are the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference. Mitchell is playing at an elite level, and the Cavs could extend him rather than move him.
It would likely take Mitchell requesting a trade for him to be on the market. Even then, the Lakers wouldn’t be the favorite to land him. The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets could both present stronger offers for the five-time All-Star.
The Nets have eight tradable first-round picks.— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) February 8, 2024
The Knicks have nine.
The Jazz and Spurs have 10 each plus swaps from multiple teams.
The Thunder had 12 coming into the day.
Three first-round picks really don't get you as far as they used to. https://t.co/1sDx5OXV7k
New York has nine tradeable first-round picks, while Brooklyn has eight. Teams like the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs have ten tradeable first-round picks, while the Oklahoma City Thunder have 12. All five teams have the ammo to outbid the Lakers if Mitchell becomes available.
Mitchell would have to request a trade to LA specifically for this to be a possibility. If not, the Lakers are holding on to an unlikely dream of landing Mitchell.
The 27-year-old guard is averaging 29/6/6 with almost two steals per game on 47/36/86 shooting splits. He would be a great fit for the Purple and Gold to win right now and fit long-term alongside Anthony Davis.
However, standing pat at the deadline has risked keeping LeBron James on the team. James has a player option for next season but could decline and enter free agency. Holding on to a pipe dream of landing Mitchell is a questionable decision without adding any depth to the rotation this season.
Another option could be Trae Young, but the Atlanta Hawks have been keen on keeping him. The 25-year-old guard is averaging 27/3/11 with 1.5 steals on 43/38/86 shooting splits. It’s unlikely the Hawks would trade Young, and other teams would have more to offer if they did.
This was a very underwhelming trade deadline for Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office. Pelinka’s decision not to trade any first-round picks is fine, but he could have maneuvered second-round picks and a player or two to add a quality role player to the bench. It will be interesting to see how Pelinka navigates the offseason and if LeBron will re-sign with the LakeShow.
The Lakers will now focus on the buyout market to round out the roster.