NBA Trade News: Lakers plan to be very active ahead of deadline

By @saihoops on
Los Angeles Lakers, Rob Pelinka, Magic Johnson, Lonzo Ball
June 23, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson speaks as newly drafted player Lonzo Ball is introduced to media while general Rob Pelinka listens at Toyota Sports Center. USA TODAY Sports / Gary A. Vasquez-

The Los Angeles Lakers plan to become an active team ahead of the Feb. 8 NBA Trade Deadline, according to general manager Rob Pelinka. Though the deadline isn't until the first week of February, the NBA trade season kicks off Dec. 15 when players that signed fresh contracts in July become eligible to be shopped around.

In a recent interview with the Mason and Ireland Show on ESPN LA Radio, Pelinka spoke openly about the team's intent to be aggressive on the trade market this season.

"December 15, I think you're going to see the trade market open up. I think teams are going to be aggressive. I always say when there's limited cap room, there's more trades. When there's tons of cap room, teams tend to be more free-agent focused. Since there's limited cap room around the league, I think teams are going to be aggressive with trying to reshuffle," said Pelinka, who replaced long-time GM Mitch Kupchak earlier this year.

It's no secret that the Lakers are trying to clear cap space to potentially sign two max-level superstars in July's NBA Free Agency period. Fourth-year players Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle are names that keep popping up in the rumour mill, mainly to clear cap room for free agents next summer. While Randle is due to become a Restricted Free Agent (RFA), Clarkson is owed US$26 million (AU$34 million) over the next two years. The Lakers could be forced to trade both players to execute their plans in free agency. 

NBA Trade News: Will the Lakers add shooters to their roster?

However, the 8-15 Lakers have other issues to address, mainly their woeful three-point percentage. The Purple & Gold is shooting a league-worst 31.5 percent from deep. "When there's needs on a team, I think you always have to try and address those. You can do it in the draft or free agency or trades. Magic and I are constantly looking at all three of those areas to try and make this team better," said Pelinka, when asked if the team would look to add shooters via trade. 

Besides hometown star Paul George, the likes of LeBron James, Chris Paul, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley will become free agents next July. Los Angeles could potentially sign two of the aforementioned players to pair with their young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. The Lakers will also have to deal with the expiring contracts of their own players, namely Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Stay tuned for the latest NBA Trade News.