Los Angeles Lakers Trade Rumors: Don't Expect Big Moves Before NBA Trade Deadline, Says GM Kupchak

Although there are plenty of interesting Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors to go around these days, General Manager Mitch Kupchak doesn’t want fans to get their hopes up. In fact, he believes that it isn’t likely that the Lakers will be making any changes to their lineup before the NBA trade deadline on February 23. At the present, the Los Angeles Lakers are ranked fourth-to-last in the Western Conference with a 13-26 record. Despite getting off to a surprisingly decent start with a 10-10 record at the end of November, the Lakers dropped their next eight games, and have been reeling ever since. It’s been quite a struggle indeed in L.A., as the Lakers deal with life without Kobe Bryant for the first time since the 1995-96 season, and adjust to new head coach Luke Walton. But if it’s been any consolation to the team’s fans, the Lakers have a promising young nucleus that includes guards D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, power forward Julius Randle, and the second-overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, small forward Brandon Ingram. And the Western Conference has been quite top-heavy this season, as the erstwhile eighth-ranked Sacramento Kings (15-20) are only four games ahead of the 12th-ranked Lakers. That means there may be an outside chance that they could sneak into the playoffs behind their young stars, and that it may be best for the Lakers not to tamper with one of the few good things they have going for them this year. .@Mike_Bresnahan speaks with #Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak on ‘Access SportsNet’ tonight at 6:30 – be sure to join us before Lakers/Blazers! — Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) January 6, 2017 So what’s to make of all the Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors we’ve been hearing, including purported deals involving top players such as Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler and Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins? The Inquisitr looked recently at how the Lakers have struggled this season, and touched on the many trade rumors surrounding the team, but even with those struggles in mind, it would appear that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak doesn’t have plans to shake things up before the NBA trade deadline hits. Mitch Kupchak on the Feb. 23 NBA trade deadline: “Based on my feel for the league I think it’s unlikely we’d do something.” (on @SpectrumSN) — Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 6, 2017 Kupchak declined to give Luke Walton a specific grade so far (“I don’t want to say…A+ or A-, B+”) but said it would be a “high grade.” — Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 6, 2017 Speaking to Spectrum SportsNet‘s Mike Bresnahan, Kupchak maintained that even with all those Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors in mind, he wants to keep the core of the team intact, particularly the aforementioned youngsters who are all getting significant minutes for the team. Laker Nation specifically quoted one line from Kupchak that made his intentions clear about not wanting to move these young guns anywhere, even if it means getting a tried-and-tested superstar in return. “I’d hate to look to do something with our young players.” A series of tweets from Bresnahan offered more of Kupchak’s insight into his rebuilding Lakers team, as the backup center-turned-executive admitted freely that the team isn’t championship material just yet, but is still one that can be “fun to watch.” As for head coach Luke Walton, who had won two NBA championship rings with the Lakers alongside the now-retired Kobe Bryant, Kupchak hesitated to give a specific grade, but told Bresnahan that the 36-year-old coach gets a “high grade” thus far in his first year in charge. Point guard D’Angelo Russell makes up part of the L.A. Lakers’ young nucleus. [Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images] Looking at the numbers, the Lakers are getting good per-game production from three of their top youngsters – D’Angelo Russell (15.5 points, 4.5 assists), Jordan Clarkson (14.2 points), and Julius Randle (13.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists). Brandon Ingram (7.4 points, 4.1 rebounds) has been slow to develop despite entering the league this season with comparisons to Kevin Durant, as Silver Screen and Roll had noted prior to the 2016 draft, but Los Angeles has a lot of faith in the 19-year-old rookie, as his 27.6 minutes-per-game average continues to rise. Things aren’t pretty in L.A., at least for the older and more storied of the city’s two NBA franchises. But even if the ongoing Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors don’t ring true and the team doesn’t bring anyone of note in before the NBA trading deadline, the team has invested in some promising young talent that may hopefully bring the Lakers back to the playoffs in a few years’ time. [Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]