NBA rumors: Latest intel may kill Lakers' trade deadline dreams

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers have been struggling since winning the NBA In-Season Tournament. With the losses starting to pile up, it is fair to say that the Lakers would benefit from some sort of change at the NBA trade deadline.

There does not need to be a sweeping change like last year when the team traded Russell Westbrook and completely rebuilt the rotation. There has to be some kind of change, though, or else the Lakers are just setting themselves up to fail in the NBA Playoffs (if they even get there).

Making a move this year is much easier than last year since the team does not have the albatross that is Westbrook's contract. That being said, it might not be as easy as fans originally thought. After foregoing his trade kicker over the summer, D'Angelo Russell became the most obvious trade chip for the Lakers. And while he has his problems, at $17 million it seemed like Russell could be packaged in something bigger to improve the team.

That might not be possible, after all. Russell does not appear to have any real value around the league, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

"Around the league, D’Angelo Russell’s $17 million salary has not been viewed as a valuable trade chip for the Lakers to bolster their roster behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis."

D'Angelo Russell's lack of value may kill Lakers' trade deadline dreams

Nobody expected Russell to be the focal point of some big deal with another team desperately wanting to add his services, let's get that clear. But there definitely was a perceived path where the Lakers could get value for D'Lo and improve the team in the process.

Let's look at the San Antonio Spurs as the perfect example. San Antonio needs a point guard and would seemingly benefit from adding Russell. The Lakers could have, theoretically, taken advantage of that fact and looped in a third team to get Russell to San Antonio and a better asset to LA. One trade we theorized here at Lake Show Life was Malcolm Brogdon coming to LA with Doug McDermott (expiring), Jalen Hood-Schifino, and draft capital going to the Portland Trail Blazers.

If Russell has no value around the league that deal is not possible even with the Spurs needing a point guard. It also makes it impossible to trade him for someone like Dejounte Murray or even Zach LaVine (although that would be a bad move regardless).

That means that the only way the Lakers get something big done is if Austin Reaves is included. Even though the numbers aren't great for Reaves, this is something that the Lakers don't want to do, per Fischer. If Russell has no value and Reaves is untouchable then there is literally nothing the Lakers can do of note.

The team could still make an ancillary move but at that point, it would only be improving around the edges and the fate of the team would ultimately remain the same.

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