The Los Angeles Lakers continue to be the subject of trade rumors and potential roster moves given their inconsistent start to the season. During his December 6 press conference, LeBron James was asked if the team has enough of a sample size to determine if the Lakers need to make additional moves.
James emphasized that the team needed more time together and praised the current roster. The Lakers superstar noted that he “love(s) every guy that’s in this locker room” and admitted he “didn’t think we even need to” make a roster move. James stopped short of making a definitive statement for the rest of the season but appears to have confidence in the Lakers squad.
“No, I have not [seen enough of the current Lakers team together] to answer the question, so it’s impossible for me to say, ‘Okay, when do we get to a point where we need to make a change?'” James explained. “If any, I don’t think we even need to do that. I love every guy that’s in this locker room, and I believe in what we’re capable of doing when we get enough game reps and enough log[ged] minutes. We’ve had guys in and out and, especially me.
“Like, I can’t even say how I even feel at this point, because I haven’t even been in the lineup half of the games. So, I love what [general manager Rob Pelinka] and coach [Vogel] and the front office did to assemble this team and we look forward to the journey ahead of us.”
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
The Lakers Have Until February 10 to Make a Trade
The Lakers have until the NBA trade deadline on February 10 to make a potential deal. At this point in the process, there is little advantage for James to publicly push the Lakers to make a trade, but it will be worth watching to see if the superstar’s tune is the same as the deadline gets closers.
Beyond the trade deadline, the Lakers will potentially once again be in the market for buyout players. As we saw last season with Andre Drummond, it is somewhat rare for these players to make a major impact on their new teams.
Horton-Tucker Is Likely the Lakers’ ‘Break Glass in Case of an Emergency’ Plan at Deadline
The Lakers are in a challenging situation which will likely require the team to improve from within. Very few of the Lakers players have trade value, and Los Angeles is unlikely to find a palatable deal for Russell Westbrook given his inflated $44 million salary.
This leaves Talen Horton-Tucker as the Lakers’ biggest asset, but Los Angeles has been reluctant to deal one of the few promising young players on their roster. Horton-Tucker proved to be a deal breaker for the Lakers potentially acquiring star point guard Kyle Lowry at last season’s trade deadline. The challenge this time around is Horton-Tucker’s play has been inconsistent, meaning his trade value may not be as high as it was a year ago.
Horton-Tucker is averaging 10.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting just 25.6% from the three-point line through his first 11 games this season. Struggles aside, the swingman is still the Lakers’ most tradable player and more likely to be dealt than Westbrook. The Lakers are still expected to bank on more time together rather than new players as the solution to their woes.