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Lakers remain unwilling to trade their two first-round picks

James Foglio profile picture
Sports Editor
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Lakers remain unwilling to trade their two first-round picks
USA Today Network

The Los Angeles Lakers are off to one of their worst starts in franchise history, and the front office remains unwilling to trade either of their first-round draft picks (2027, 2029).

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers are aiming to reserve their first-round picks for the rest of the decade, regardless of whether or not the team improves this season.

“I’m told the organization will be prudent with their first-round picks that they have available for the remainder of the decade,” said Charania.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Lakers have the 17th-best odds to win the championship in 2023. Some sportsbooks now have them below the New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves.

“In 2027 and 2029. I don’t believe the Lakers are in a position right now to mortgage their future with those two available picks.

Realizing that this team is probably not going to be a championship contender, might not even be a shoo-in for the playoffs the way that this season is going.

They’re probably looking at marginal changes around the edges at best. The organization seems to be moving in a direction where they’re going to resist moving first-round picks if the season continues to go down this path.”

Lakers will likely hang onto their two first-round draft picks (2027, 2029) for the rest of the decade

Through 9 games this season, LeBron James is averaging 24.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 1 steal. Plus, he’s shooting 44.7% from the field and 21% from 3-point range.

However, the four-time MVP’s player efficiency rating (PER) this season is the lowest since his rookie season. During the 2003-04 season, LeBron recorded a PER of 18.3. Right now, his PER is 19.2.

Additionally, the Lakers rank 17th in the NBA in defensive efficiency (1.085). They rank 26th in points per game as well (108.4) and 26th in team shooting percentage (44.4%).

At the moment, the only important statistics are wins and losses. Considering L.A. is 2-8 and ranks 14th overall in the Western Conference, coach Darvin Ham has to make changes soon.

Since the Lakers front office are unwilling to trade their two first-round picks, this puts the coaching staff and the players in a much-undesirable position. If not the New York Knicks, what other team would trade for one of their stars?

Instead of a trade, the team could focus on signing one of the best available free agents. On Tuesday, eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard signed a deal with the Taoyuan Leopards of the T1 League in Taiwan.

Therefore, would G.M. Rob Pelinka consider bringing back Carmelo Anthony? Since the Lakers have a below-.500 record to start the 2022-23 season, they don’t seem to have much of a choice at this point.

The team is dealing with injuries, inconsistent play, and horrible shooting from multiple players.

In 69 appearances with L.A. last season, Anthony averaged 13.3 points, 4.2 boards, and 1 assist. Based on 66 games off the bench, he also shot 44.1% from the floor and 37.5% from downtown.

James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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