The NBA trade deadline is less than a week away, and the Los Angeles Lakers could be as active as any team in the league. General manager Mitch Kupchak recently admitted the team has been active in trade talks with a lot of interest in the talent on the squad, via Tania Ganguli and Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
“We are active, yes,” General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. “We’re active every year. … Quite frankly compared to the last three or four years, we have a lot of talent on this roster that I think a lot of people have interest in — varying levels of interest. I would think there’s more meaningful discussions this year than there have been the last two or three years.”
One player the Lakers brass may be getting calls for that could be sent elsewhere before the NBA trade deadline is veteran guard Lou Williams. The 30-year-old has played consistently well for the Lakers this season and currently leads the team in scoring at 18.6 while coming off the bench for head coach Luke Walton.
The consensus seems to be that the Lakers would be willing to part ways with the veterans on their squad while keeping the young core intact. D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., and Ivica Zubac may not be going anywhere anytime soon, but it's a safe bet to assume opposing teams have shown some interest in a trade package involving a few of these players.
Some of the notable veterans on the team that may have played their last game for the Lakers include Williams, Nick Young, Jose Calderon, Timofey Mozgov, and Luol Deng. Williams has one the easiest contract to move of those mentioned with the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year set to make $7 million next season making him an attractive player for title-contending teams looking to bolster their roster for the postseason.
The Lakers are coming off one of their worst losses of the season heading into the All-Star break. The division rival Phoenix Suns made easy work of Walton's young squad on Wednesday crushing the Lakers by 36 points at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
All signs point to the playoff drought continuing for the Lakers with only 19 wins with 24 games left to be played in the 2016-17 campaign. With the playoffs more than likely out of reach pending a drastic turn of events, the team may decide to shake things up with a trade or two over the next few days leading up to the deadline on Feb. 23.