Massive report reveals Lakers priorities in improving the roster this offseason

The Los Angeles Lakers are known to go star-hunting in the offseason, but general manager Rob Pelinka may have different priorities in 2024.
Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

Despite the rumor mill is producing an endless number of stories about what the Los Angeles Lakers may ultimately do, there's still a general sense of uncertainty as to the front office's thought process. Big trades are a trademark of the Lakers organization, but what if an All-Star isn't actually the target?

That seems to be a stronger possibility than one might presume, as general manager Rob Pelinka seems committed to the responsible vision that some have had trouble believing in.

The Lakers are coming off of a season in which they finished 47-35 and lost in five games in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. With the firing of head coach Darvin Ham and limited cap space to ameliorate the roster, the cost of improvement could offset the benefit of potentially drastic changes.

According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Pelinka's approach to team-building is taking that into account, as the organization prioritizes roster improvement over star acquisition.

"“My sense right now is they’re leaning more toward upgrading the supporting cast rather than the three-star model. And I say that for a couple reasons.One, it’s difficult to trade for a star. There’s going to be a lot of competition this offseason. So I think if a star is willing to demand a trade and say that they only want to go to the Lakers or make it a very short list where the Lakers have the assets to compete with the teams on that list, then sure, I think the Lakers can land that type of star. But there’s also a lot of uncertainty right now where we don’t know which star is going to be available.”"

Jovan Buha of The Athletic

There are a number of intriguing names on the open market, but this approach is actually rather refreshing compared to the constant star-hunting that has created limited windows for contending.

Pelinka, hired as general manager in March of 2017, has experienced the highs and lows of attempting to build contenders in Los Angeles. During his tenure, the Lakers have won a championship and reached a second Conference Finals, but have also missed the playoffs and seen multiple first-round exits.

A steady theme during his run at the top has been the pursuit of big names, as Los Angeles has gone after All-Stars in trades such as Anthony Davis, D'Angelo Russell, and Russell Westbrook.

With fewer resources than were once available to Pelinka, it seems the Lakers may have their priorities in order. Anthony Davis and LeBron James were both named All-NBA in 2024-25, and Austin Reaves has established himself as a player who could start for 30 franchises.

Taking that into account, a logical approach would be for the Lakers to create a roster with enough depth to not rely on players on the minimum for big minutes come the postseason.

By attempting to fill out the roster with quality players instead of going star-hunting, the Lakers can make best use of their limited assets. Any trade for an All-Star would likely requiring parting with at least one starter, with Rui Hachimura's $17 million salary facilitating any potential high-cost deal.

Depending on who the Lakers are pursuing, a potential trade could also require the organization to include Reaves in a deal to sweeten the pot.

By attempting to trade for depth instead of star power, however, the Lakers would likely be able to keep both Hachimura and Reaves. Retaining two players who started and played massive minutes should be a goal, and reportedly is, per Buha, especially with how limited the team's cap space is.

A future trade may require the loss of draft compensation in any scenario, but holding on to current starters who are valued by the team would be an undeniable win.