Lakers Rumors: Is LA Ownership Preventing Front Office From Trading Draft Picks?

Oh boy.

During a recent episode of their podcast The Crossover, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix and Howard Beck unloaded a stunning revelation on unsuspecting listeners: your Los Angeles Lakers’ front office might not actually be to blame for the team’s confounding reticence to move on from future draft picks, after inking 38-year-old All-Star forward LeBron James to a two-year contract extension that sure seemed like a win-now move over the summer:

”They obviously are not willing to trade the picks,” Beck said. “And I’ve heard rumblings — and they’re only rumblings, so I don’t want people to go too far with this or go crazy with the aggregation — but a couple people around the league have told me in recent weeks that they believe that the front office has essentially been told not to trade the picks. That they’re guarding those.”

The Lakers have two tradable draft picks, future first-rounders in 2027 and 2029, that they could offload this season to improve the club in the short-term. A variety of deals have been proposed, including one or both of those picks, that could be used to send Russell Westbrook and his $47.1 million expiring contract to several teams that could have solid veterans for LA, including clubs like the Charlotte Hornets, the Indiana Pacers, the San Antonio Spurs, and maybe even the Utah Jazz.

James and 11th-year center Anthony Davis have proven that they can win with the right help, and it’s quite clear that the 17-21 Lakers don’t quite have enough help to contend for much more than the 10th seed in the Western Conference as currently comprised.

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