The Los Angeles Lakers haven't had any luck on the trade market thus far this season. The only move they've made on that front has been dumping Rajon Rondo onto the Cleveland Cavaliers, but when they've tried to land bigger names like Jerami Grant and Buddy Hield to supplement this season's underwhelming roster, they've been rebuffed. Things have gotten so bad that ESPN's Dave McMenamin reported that Lakers players believed that a trade was necessary, but according to Brian Windhorst, they aren't even putting their best asset on the table.
Windhorst is reporting that the Lakers are telling teams that call them that their 2027 first-round pick is, for now, off of the table. That is the only first-round pick the Lakers can legally trade because of the ones they already owe the New Orleans Pelicans from the Anthony Davis trade, and considering the relative age of this Lakers roster, it has the potential to be quite valuable. According to Windhorst, the Lakers are focused primarily on scouring the trade market in search of a home for Talen Horton-Tucker.
Horton-Tucker is having a disappointing season. He has struggled in an off-ball role and his 3-point shooting has not developed as hoped. A year after the Lakers made him the deal-breaker in a Kyle Lowry trade, league-wide interest has seemingly waned. Further complicating matters is the player option on Horton-Tucker's contract for the 2023-24 season. That creates sort of a lose-lose scenario for an acquiring team. If Horton-Tucker plays well, he'll quickly get a raise. If he doesn't? He'll be overpaid.
The Lakers have numerous second-round picks they can offer alongside Horton-Tucker. They could also add more matching salary in the form of Kendrick Nunn, but beyond that, their options for sweeteners are fairly limited. The only other draft-related capital they could offer would be the right to swap first-round picks in a future year. That isn't nothing, but it likely isn't moving the needle in the same way an unprotected pick would.
The deadline is less than a day away and nothing appears imminent for a Lakers team that badly needs to change something. If the Lakers are going to pull a rabbit out of their hat, now would be the time.