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Lakers make veterans on roster available via trade

Roy Hibbert, Kane Fitzgerald

Los Angeles Lakers center Roy Hibbert (17) argues a call with referee Kane Fitzgerald during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. The Blazers won 121-103. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)


When the Lakers signed a series of veterans this summer — Brandon Bass, Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, Metta World Peace — the idea was twofold. First, Lakers management believed this team was better than it actually is and that these veterans could play quality minutes, maybe even keep this team in contention for a playoff spot.

If the Lakers fell short of that — and they have, in spectacular fashion — then the Lakers would have trade chips to use at the deadline.

That has happened, as confirmed by Marc Stein at ESPN.

Ditto for the Los Angeles Lakers and a number of veterans on their roster: Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass, Nick Young and Lou Williams. We should note, however, that Hibbert possesses the only expiring contract in that quartet. Bass holds a $3.1 million player option for next season.

What the Lakers are looking for in return is picks and young players — assets to help their rebuilding process. That said, none of the guys on that list are going to bring much in return, these are guys coming off the bench or not contributing a ton on a 9-39 team.

Still, playoff teams looking for veteran backup depth along the front line may well consider Bass as reasonable option — he’s shooting 55.4 percent and has looked like the decent to solid veteran that he is. Bass could well get moved, but not much is going to come back in return. Hibbert is struggling this season, but a team may take a small risk on him if the cost isn’t too high.

There also was a rumor Thursday that the Lakers would consider moving D’Angelo Russell. Take that with a full shaker of salt. This is more like the Lakers testing the trade market for a player with teams in need of a point guard. Would the Lakers trade Russell? Sure, if a team was willing to send back a boatload of quality talent/picks, but the price the Lakers would ask is going to be too steep for anybody sane.

If I were Lakers’ management, I would see the flashes of progress Russell has shown and wonder how that could grow under a coach better suited to player development. Russell has said he doesn’t even understand yet the questions he should be asking to make big leaps, and his coach is not a great communicator, which stunts everything. Give Russell another year, a chance to improve his shooting, and then he can better be evaluated.