As the season spirals more and more out of control, the Lakers will likely start to commit to unloading this year’s talent in hopes of future gains. While Kupchak said he doesn’t explicitly plan on tanking, he also said he’ll weigh the team’s current possibility for success with the future. As it stands, this team is long out of a title hunt this year and getting closer and closer to the #1 pick in June’s draft. This leaves Kupchak and the Lakers front office, who have adamantly denied that they would tank, with an interesting situation: play out the season, which will result in a top ten pick and watch most everyone leave, or start unloading assets, stock up on draft picks, and accelerate the free fall to #1 pick status.
Most Lakers fans hope for the latter, I’m sure. But what can the Lakers realistically expect from a team that has lost 10 of their last 11. There are a unique set of circumstances around this team, though, which all center around the fact that the Lakers sport loads of expiring contracts. Along with the expiring of contracts, many of the Lakers came to the team on discounts, making them even more enticing to contenders looking for an extra piece in their playoff push.
Injuries have clouded the landscape of possible trades, with nearly every Laker perimeter player suffering an injury this season. Further confusing the masses is the play of the replacements, namely Kendall Marshall, Robert Sacre, and even Wes Johnson. Their play have made their predecessors expendable. No trade the Lakers make leading up to the trade deadline will be considered a blockbuster, nor will it likely greatly effect this immediate Lakers squad, but it will have a lasting effect on the future of the Lakers franchise.