NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers eyeing third star; could come at expense of Austin Reaves

Could the Los Angeles Lakers change courses and pursue a trade for a third star?

Los Angeles Lakers v Philadelphia 76ers
Los Angeles Lakers v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

NBA Trade Rumors: If the Los Angeles Lakers do end up pursuing a third star, which appears to be the case, it will come at the expense of Austin Reaves.

Heading into the start of the season, there was optimism that the Los Angeles Lakers could pick up where they left off in their run to the Western Conference Finals and emerge as a contender once again this season. However, that hasn't exactly appeared to be the case through the first few weeks of the season.

The Lakers very much look like a team that needs a third star next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, at least for now, the only star-level talent that is widely known to be on the trade block is Zach LaVine.

It was recently reported that the Lakers were not all that interested in LaVine. Despite that, it seems like that may have changed, or could change in the not-so-distant future.

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, there's an expectation that the Lakers will express interest in LaVine. But if that's something they do end up pursuing, it could come at the expense of prized emerging star Austin Reaves.

Do the Los Angeles Lakers have to explore trading Austin Reaves?

In fact, you can make the argument that any star-level talent that the Lakers end up pursuing at this year's trade deadline will come at the expense of Reaves. Without a plethora of future first-round picks they can offer, Reaves might be considered the most valuable trade asset on the roster not named LeBron or AD.

But as Shams adds in the report, the Lakers aren't in a place where they'd even consider trading Reaves. That's not a surprise considering the Lakers worked hard in retaining Reaves this past offseason.

The big question is whether that changes over the course of the next couple of months. The Lakers are currently 10-8 and clinging on to the 8th seed in the Western Conference standings. I'd have to imagine that the front office would have higher expectations than just finishing as one of the eight best teams in the West.

Ideally, the Lakers would be able to turn the corner without trading a key piece of their core. However, if they do want to fully take advantage of LeBron's championship window, perhaps a trade is the way to go.

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At least for now, the expectation is that the Lakers will remain patient. However, if they do want to add a third star, it seems like it will have to come with the decision of being open to parting ways with Reaves. Right now, that just doesn't seem like anything the Lakers would be interested in. The real question is, will that change?