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DONE DEAL: Lakers have just spent $30000 on a player….

The Athletic has live coverage of the 2024 NBA trade deadline. Follow along for updates.

Jan. 15 kicked off the second wave of NBA trade season. The Feb. 8 deadline is less than three weeks away.

The Los Angeles Lakers will be one of the most interesting teams in the league over that period, as they have a track record of being aggressive at the deadline. No one within the organization is content with the team’s 21-21 start to the season. A move is likely.

The Lakers have three paths they’re weighing, according to team sources not authorized to speak publicly:Stand pat and retain their assets.

Make a small-to-medium move, upgrading a rotation spot and/or filling a roster need.

Make a more significant move, reshaping the rotation and adding a more notable contributor (or two).

As the Lakers learned in 2021 and 2022, it’s difficult to build a contender with three players on maximum salaries given NBA salary-cap constraints. The third star has to not only be worth the money, but also complement the team’s two best players. Russell Westbrook fell short in both regards, leaving the Lakers somewhat apprehensive about trying to recreate a three-star build.

The Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine is a much better fit than Westbrook, at least offensively, but there are legitimate concerns about his contract and injury history. Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray is on a much more manageable deal than LaVine, but he’s slipped defensively this season and has historically been a shaky shooter. The price for the Utah Jazz’s Lauri Markkanen is too steep for Los Angeles. Pascal Siakam is now off the board after getting traded to the Indiana Pacers. It’s unknown if another star or star-adjacent player will emerge — at least one the Lakers can reasonably attain. (Even if, say, Cleveland makes Donovan Mitchell available, the Lakers don’t have the assets to trade for him.)

With all that said, let’s dive into some questions and topics that will dominate discussions over the next few weeks.

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