It’s January, and you know what that means: It’s officially Lakers trade rumors season. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be hearing near-constant buzz about the relative availability of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, Moe Wagner and everyone else on the Lakers not named LeBron.
Get your critical thinking caps ready to determine what makes sense and what is just anonymous posturing, because we finally have our first evidence that the hot stove has been turned on.
In a larger post exploring the relative trade value of Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Ken Berger of Bleacher Report dropped a couple nuggets about how the Lakers are approaching the trade deadline, and who might or might not be available:
In the West, the Lakers have to be part of the conversation because of the LeBron Jamesfactor, though it’s not clear to rival executives whom they’re willing to trade in any deal and whom they aren’t.
”At one point a month ago, they were dangling Lonzo [Ball] a little bit, but now they don’t want to trade him,” one of the execs said.
The Lakers not wanting to trade Ball anymore makes sense. The sophomore point guard has been playing significantly better of late, as over the last 12 games since LeBron James got hurt Ball is shooting a team-high 38.9 percent from behind the arc on six(!!!) attempts per game, while also stuffing the box score 12.9 points, 6.9 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.
Ball has additionally shown an increased aggressiveness at getting to the rim and truly seems to have figured out how much more effective the Lakers can be if he runs the offense. If he’s really turned a corner, a 21-year-old playing like this is certainly worth holding on to.