Latest bombshell Lakers report kills any chance of a big trade at the deadline

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers
Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The worst seems to be behind the Los Angeles Lakers but the team is still not playing how the fanbase expected heading into the year. Los Angeles looked like a bona fide contender that was only behind the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference. Instead, the purple and gold are currently ninth in the Western Conference.

Outside of a potential head coaching change (that won't happen in-season), the one way the Lakers can improve their fortunes is by utilizing the trade deadline. The Lakers have a lot of tradeable assets on the books and can go in several directions at the deadline to reinforce the roster.

Fans have been firing up the trade machine for weeks trying to construct a trade that could spark the season (much like a year ago). However, unlike a year ago, it does not seem like the Lakers are going to make a sizeable deal at the deadline. Instead, Los Angeles may be targeting the offseason, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

"The Lakers have discussed internally the possibility of packaging three picks, along with players they already have on their books, to pursue a bona fide star, such as Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers or Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, team sources told ESPN."

Latest report may kill a big Lakers trade at the deadline

Of course, things can change and team building is absolutely a fluid situation. The Lakers could be discussing going one route right now and may change course if the price for another star decreases, or if a new intriguing trade target hits the market.

So why does this report kill the chances of making a deadline blockbuster? It is simple. The Lakers do not have three tradeable picks until draft night in June. At that point, the Pelicans will have decided if they want the Lakers' 2024 pick or the 2025 pick. If New Orleans takes the 2025 pick, the Lakers can package the 2024 pick after the draft to trade it.

However, more importantly, the Lakers would be able to trade a 2031 first-round pick. The latest pick the Lakers can currently trade is the 2030 pick. However, if the team trades its 2029 pick in a package then the 2030 pick has to be a pick swap because of the league's Stepien Rule.

Could the Lakers make a smaller trade in the meantime? Absolutely. D'Angelo Russell has a player option after the season and the Lakers may not be able to utilize his contract in a trade come June. But fans should not expect a blockbuster trade, as the Lakers may be being patient with that approach.