Los Angeles Lakers Rumors: Mitch Kupchak discusses the impending NBA trade deadline and says the Lakers are active in talks.
Los Angeles Lakers rumors have begun picking up steam in recent days. Despite having the third-worst record in the NBA at 19-39, the Lakers could be a team to watch in the coming days with the NBA trade deadline looming.
The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 23 and the Lakers are in a situation they haven’t been in in a number of seasons. More often than not the Lakers were buyers with Kobe Bryant on the roster.
With Bryant riding off into the sunset into retirement last season, the Lakers are in full rebuild mode.
The Lakers have a ton of young talent on the roster and some attractive veteran pieces as well. As a result, they are listening to plenty of calls.
“We are active, yes. 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.”
There are a number of players that would interest other teams on the trade market. Atop that list is reserve guard Lou Williams.
Williams has cemented himself among one of the top sixth men in the NBA. He is instant offense off the bench and would help the second units of a number of contenders.
Williams is in the midst of a career year and would garner plenty of interest if the Lakers are truly interested in moving him.
Williams plays only 24.2 minutes per game, but is averaging a career-high 18.6 points per game. He gets it done in crunch time as well, scoring the fifth-most points per fourth quarter in the NBA.
He is having a very efficient season, shooting 44.4 percent overall, and 38.6 percent from deep and 88.4 percent from the foul line; the three-point shooting percentage and foul shot percentage are both career-highs.
In addition to the scoring, Williams adds 2.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. His 22.8 assist percentage is one of the highest marks of his career. The Lakers are putting the ball in his hands more with the second unit, as he has a career-high usage rate of 30.6.
That would probably take a hit if Williams is moved to a contender, but he is not thinking about possibly being traded.
“I just play,” Williams said, when asked if he’d like to play for a contending team. “I’m a little old school in my approach. I play for the team that I have the jersey on for, so I don’t really deal in hypotheticals.”
Also making Williams an attractive trade target is that he is not a rental. Williams is signed through next season for a very manageable $7 million, which could help increase the return package for the Lakers.
Another veteran to keep an eye on would be Nick Young. He looks like a totally different player this season after the Lakers were unsuccessful in trading him last offseason.
He played his way into the starting lineup and has been a pleasant surprise for Los Angeles this season as his game has evolved.
Unlike Williams, Young could be a rental if a team trades for him. He has a player option for the 2017-18 season that he could exercise to try and cash in during free agency after a strong season.
While it sounds logical for the Lakers to make a move, Kupchak cautions that they could stand pat through the deadline.
“A lot of it depends on your roster and what it looks like,” Kupchak said. “I really like this group; they get along really well together, the guys that are here as mentors and leaders are doing a great job. The young players are showing growth. So it’s all good.”
The Lakers will be a team to keep an eye on leading into the trade deadline. They could help sway the playoff push if they decide to make any trades.
If the Lakers end up making any moves it will be interesting to see what they do with Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng. The Lakers most expensive free agent signings have both been removed from the starting lineup and may not be long for Los Angeles.