February 23rd will certainly be an important day for the Lakers and their fans. That date holds both the NBA trade deadline and D’Angelo Russell’s 21st birthday. The former means there is a possibility for a shakeup in the roster and alterations the team’s draft process; the latter brings a certainty of the egg avatar portion of Lakers Twitter adding “LA nightlife” to their bulletin board of reasons Russell isn’t playing well.
The deadline has been largely disappointing for the team over the past few seasons, but the LA Time’s Tania Ganguli and Mike DiGiovanna report that general manager Mitch Kupchak thinks this year could be different compared to the last couple of years.
The following quote is from the LA 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.”
Kupchak gives off an impression that a trade is far likelier to happen than past seasons. There is definitely added pressure on the front office– with the combination of Magic Johnson on board and gunning for Jim Buss’ job as well as another lackluster season of basketball being played. Kupchak’s quote lines up with reports of a potential Lou Williams trade before next week’s deadline. Although the team shipping out Williams is the scenario that is the most probable, it does not rule out the possibility of more turnover on the Lakers roster.
Nick Young is having a career-best season with a player option for next season, Tarik Black’s contract next year is non-guaranteed, and Jose Calderon has an expiring contract; all could be interesting trade chips in potential deals. What return the above-mentioned players can bring in will be the question. Williams very well could net a late first round pick for the Lakers, while the remaining players’ trade value diminishes as we go down the above list.
Players will be moving around the NBA next week at the deadline, but will there be any Lakers involved? The last in-season trade the team made was Steve Blake for Kent Bazemore and Marshon Brooks. Kupchak and outside reports let on that the Lakers will buck their trend of deadline inactivity, but only time will tell.