L.A.

Could Lakers’ future plans be linked to trade deadline?

With All-Star weekend reaching its conclusion Sunday, the attention will shift to the trade deadline that is only a few days away.

For the Los Angeles Lakers, it could be interesting next couple of days with plenty of uncertainty surrounding the organization’s future. They are in the midst of another disappointing season with a 13-40 record, which is the fourth worst in the NBA and only three games better than the last-place New York Knicks.

Although the Lakers hold one of the worst records in the league, there is the one positive outlook on the situation being that this increases the likelihood of retaining their 2015 first-round draft pick that was sent over in the Steve Nash trade as long as they finish in the top five in the 2015 draft order.

That in mind, this could keep the Lakers from making any moves prior to the trade deadline as any player they acquire could improve the team enough this season put them out of the top five in the upcoming draft. If they were to acquire a player such as Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas or even Nik Stauskas  it would indicate that there could be a shift in thinking in regards to the draft.

It’s no secret that Los Angeles will be looking to change the landscape of the franchise in the offseason with their eyes fixated  on getting back to relevancy in the league. There is even more sense of urgency because Kobe Bryant is set to enter the final year of his contract and possibly his last season in the NBA.

There will be much activity on the phone lines in the next coming days, if there isn’t already, with conversations being held with other teams discussing players such as Dragic, whose future with the Phoenix Suns is in question due to his pending free agency this upcoming offseason.

If Los Angeles desired to get the young point prior to the trade deadline it would likely have to include their other first-round draft pick that they acquired from the Houston Rockets in the trade for Jeremy Lin.

It is also being reported that the Suns may also make Thomas available to other teams in order to increase the possibility of retaining Dragic. As for Stauskas, he has been linked to trade rumors for the last couple of months due to his struggles to fit in and produce with the Sacramento Kings in his rookie year. 

If the Lakers were to go down this path by obtaining help through the trade market, any deal would have to likely include Jordan Hill, who has drawn the most interest from other teams across the league. Hill is having a career-best season breakout season averaging 12.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, and has a career-high 16 double-doubles.

Despite all this, the overriding belief is that the Lakers want to keep their top-five protected draft pick at all cost, and acquiring a player in season could derail any chance at getting a promising prospect such as Duke center Jahlil Okafor, Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell, or Congo native Emmanuel Mudiay.

All in all, the next coming days will be telling of the Lakers’ game plan for the future.

Photo Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

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Bob Garcia IV

Staff Writer at Sports Out West
Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He is also currently covering the NBA and NFL for ClutchPoints. He was previously the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarciaivsports.
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