The Los Angeles Lakers went on a brief run this past month where they won eight out of their last 10 games.
Since then they have subsequently dropped their last two in a row, but that small window of winning appears to have altered the front office’s strategy on how to proceed going forward.
At the beginning of the year, Rob Pelinka signaled that the team would be willing to part ways with its two remaining first round draft picks in this decade sometime around late-December in an effort to improve the squad.
This week, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski provided an update to that plan.
“I think this stretch has bought them a little bit of time now to really not have to rush into anything… Their strategy remains the same… They’re not going to use the picks unless they can get back an All-Star level player.”@wojespn on the Lakers.pic.twitter.com/w2Z8195dTw
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 7, 2022
“I think this stretch has bought them a little bit of time now to really not have to rush into anything,” he said.
“… Their strategy remains the same, which is, we know what their assets are: the ’27 and ’29 unprotected first-round picks. They’re not going to use the picks unless they can get back essentially an All-Star-level player. And it remains to be seen if those kind of players are available at the deadline.”
Wojnarowski then went so far as to name one team L.A. is keeping its eye on: the Chicago Bulls.
“Like a lot of teams, I think the Lakers will watch Chicago (to) see if that is an organization that decides it might pivot before the trade deadline,” he said.
The Lakers are not a good team. Even with that stretch where they won eighty percent of their outings for a 10-game period, they still couldn’t move past 13th place in the Western Conference.
And the two teams below them in the West actually have a reason to be bad. Unlike L.A., they own their draft picks this season.
The Lakers’ plan at one point was to trade away Russell Westbrook for something better. Now, it appears there are two other players they would prefer to trade ahead of Westbrook.
LeBron James has made it abundantly clear who he wants the front office to go out and get – but thus far there has been minimal movement.
Pelinka and Co. are playing an odd game right now. They are neither getting the pieces necessary to compete for a title nor are willing to blow the roster up and rebuild.
The video speaks for itself. https://t.co/t9rmiwiGBd
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 7, 2022
As a result, they are in this weird middle ground where they are not good but also have no real room to improve.
The season is now a quarter of the way done. Will the Lakers be able to get back on track to some degree at any point in the foreseeable future?
Time will tell.