Dating to the middle of last season, the Los Angeles Lakers have tried to use their limited tradable assets to improve their roster and maximize whatever is left of LeBron James’ productive years.
Perhaps their most valuable assets are their first-round draft picks, but according to NBA rules, they can currently only trade their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks.
It seemed they may have been willing to part with at least one of those picks for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, but a deal never materialized. Other rumored trade targets, such as Bojan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, haven’t interested L.A. enough to get it to give up both picks.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers will not trade those picks unless they yield an All-Star level player.
“We know what their assets are the ’27 and the ’29 unprotected first-round picks. They’re not going to use those unless they can get back essentially an All-Star level player,” Wojnarowski said.
Some have felt the Lakers have been too fixated on getting another All-Star or big names to put around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Last offseason, they traded for Russell Westbrook while signing former All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and DeAndre Jordan, only to get disastrous results.
It’s always possible this report is nothing more than posturing on L.A.’s part.
Could the Chicago Bulls be a possible trade partner?
Wojnarowski also said the Lakers may try to partner with the Chicago Bulls in an attempt to do a trade that would improve their roster.
“Like a lot of teams, I think the Lakers will watch Chicago. See if that is an organization that decides it might pivot before the trade deadline. But I think what’s more realistic is expiring contracts and maybe one of those picks.”
The Bulls were rolling during the first half of last season before they were hit by injuries. This season, they are 10-14 and in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. Should they fail to right the ship, there is always the possibility they decide to hit the reset button.
L.A. was reportedly seriously interested in Bulls star DeMar DeRozan during the summer of 2021 before it pivoted to Westbrook. The team reportedly had internal discussions about making a play for DeRozan and center Nikola Vucevic.