UPDATE: Insider Reveals Lakers’ Rejection of Rival’s Bid to Acquire a $54 Million Starting Player in Trade Negotiations

   

Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have remained resolute in their stance on trading Austin Reaves, despite persistent trade rumors swirling around the team throughout the season.

Reaves, a 25-year-old guard, has been considered off-limits in trade discussions, and this commitment to retaining him has been recently reaffirmed.

Even though the Lakers have shown interest in Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray, they were unwilling to part ways with Reaves as part of a potential deal to acquire him.

HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported on January 18, “The Hawks coveted Lakers guard Austin Reaves in trade talks surrounding Murray but were denied by Los Angeles, league sources said.”

Reaves signed a four-year, $53.8 million contract during the past offseason, and this season, he has been putting up career-high numbers with averages of 15.1 points, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 0.9 steals.

While his three-point shooting percentage stands at 35.1% for the year, he has recently found his rhythm, making an impressive 60% of his deep shots over the last four games.

A key factor in Reaves’ resurgence has been his return to the starting lineup.

Although he began the season as a starter, a defensive slump led Head Coach Darvin Ham to relegate him to a bench role temporarily.

However, the Lakers have experienced a 2-0 winning streak since Ham reverted to the original starting lineup.

As the Lakers pursue a potential trade for Murray, they may encounter challenges in meeting the Hawks’ asking price.

The Hawks are reportedly seeking two first-round draft picks in exchange for Murray, and they are not interested in taking on any long-term salary commitments beyond this season.

This poses a complication for the Lakers, as their trade options are somewhat limited due to their draft pick situation.

The Lakers have access to their 2029 first-round pick and can also swap picks in 2030.

Waiting until the offseason, especially on draft night, would allow them to include their 2031 first-rounder.

However, time is running out with the trade deadline approaching on February 8.

Scotto suggested that any trade framework for Murray to the Lakers would likely involve guard D’Angelo Russell.

However, this would require Russell to be subsequently traded to a third team as part of the deal.

Russell’s $18.7 million player option for the 2023-24 season presents a challenge for trade negotiations, impacting his trade value.

Additionally, Russell’s fit alongside Hawks star Trae Young is not ideal, given their defensive limitations.

To bridge the gap and reach the Hawks’ asking price, Scotto mentioned the possibility of including rookie first-round pick Jalen Hood-Schifino in trade talks, though it’s worth noting that Atlanta preferred Kobe Bufkin over him in the draft.

In the midst of these trade rumors and negotiations, LeBron James and Anthony Davis have weighed in.

LeBron emphasized that he doesn’t engage in fantasy basketball and finds it disrespectful to speculate about the team’s needs or deficiencies.

He emphasized the importance of continuing to put in the work with his teammates.

Anthony Davis acknowledged the Lakers’ injury struggles this season but expressed confidence in the team’s talent.

He believes that getting fully healthy is the key to unleashing the team’s potential and continuing on their path to success.

The Lakers’ trade plans and their commitment to retaining Austin Reaves reflect their ongoing efforts to navigate the challenges and uncertainties of the NBA trade landscape.

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