Lakers Make Final Decision on Rumored Blockbuster Trade Involving Draft Picks: Report

Lakers players Austin Reaves, LeBron James, Dennis Schroder and Patrick Beverley on January 2, 2023

Getty Lakers players Austin Reaves, LeBron James, Dennis Schroder and Patrick Beverley on January 2, 2023

The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly been told not to trade their draft picks in 2027 and 2029 this season.

Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated said on the January 3 episode of “The Crossover NBA Show with Chris Mannix and Howard Beck” that the Lakers have been advised to keep their future draft picks.

“They obviously are not willing to trade the picks,” Beck said. “And I’ve heard rumblings, and they’re only rumblings, so I don’t want people to go too far with this or go crazy with the aggregation, but a couple (of) people around the league have told me in recent weeks that they believe that the front office has essentially been told not to trade the picks, that they’re guarding those.”

The Lakers’ first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 are extremely valuable. According to an October 3 report from Jovan Buha, Sam Amick and Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers came close to trading Russell Westbrook and their unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Indiana Pacers for center Myles Turner and shooting guard Buddy Hield before general manager Rob Pelinka decided that giving up two future draft picks was too steep of a price to pay.

The Lakers Won’t Trade Their Draft Picks Unless They Get a Star

The Lakers reportedly won’t use their future draft picks in a trade unless they get an All-Star-level player in return, according to a December 7 report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Washington Wizards star shooting guard Bradley Beal is believed to be one of the players Los Angeles is willing to part ways with its draft picks for.

“Some rival teams believe that the Lakers want to try to keep their two most coveted trade assets in case a currently unforeseen shot to trade for a legitimate third star — like Washington’s Bradley Beal — materializes suddenly,” Marc Stein of Substack wrote on December 30.

In a December 26 column called “Lakers are wasting LeBron James’ greatness and loss on Christmas is another reminder,” Buha wrote that the Lakers front office “doesn’t want to compound its previous mistakes with more win-now moves.” The purple and gold made a blockbuster trade during the summer of 2021, acquiring Westbrook from the Wizards. That trade wound up being a terrible move for the Lakers, who went only 33-49 in 2021-22.

“Reinforcements via trade would obviously help, and the Lakers are still evaluating their options on a dormant trade market,” Buha wrote. “At the same time, it becomes increasingly challenging to justify trading a first-round pick if the group continues to struggle. The front office doesn’t want to compound its previous mistakes with more win-now moves.”

The Lakers May Not Make a Trade This Season

Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times reported on December 28 that the Lakers, who are 16-21, may not make a trade this season. Los Angeles is in 13th place in the Western Conference standings.

“The Lakers’ means for improving their roster this season are limited, rules prohibiting them from trading first-round picks other than the ones they have in 2027 and 2029 because of the steep price they paid for Davis,” Woike reported. “Internally, sources said, there’s been serious consideration given to riding out the season without making a major deal if they can’t find one that would make the team a realistic contender.”

If the Lakers miss the playoffs again this season, it will be the third time LeBron James has failed to make the postseason with the LakeShow.

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