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Lakers News: Rob Pelinka Confirms LA Not Done Making Moves After Rui Hachimura Trade

Thank goodness.

During a recent presser to introduce new Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura, LA team vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka spoke at length about his front office's thinking with regards to adding Hachimura, in a deal that cost LA three future second-round picks and the expiring deal of Kendrick Nunn.

"[We] felt like it was an opportunity for us to strike early and address a need in a market that has proven to be a little bit slow," Pelinka said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. "And [it] doesn't mean our work is finished. We're going to continue to monitor the situation with the 29 other teams.

"... Our job as a front office is always to look to improve our team both now and in the future, and we felt like Rui was the perfect way to do that, and that's why we struck early."

Later, Pelinka expounded on his note that he felt that LA may not be done making moves ahead of the league's February 9th trade deadline.

"If there's an opportunity to get all the way to the end and win a championship, there's no resource we'll hold on to if we feel like that's there," Pelinka allowed. "But at the same time, the completely unwise thing to do would be to shoot a bullet early, and then not have it later when you have a better championship move you could make. So that's a really delicate calculus." 

"It's something that the entire front office, we evaluate with all the moves. If we see a move that puts us as the frontrunner to get another championship, the 18th one here, we'll make it. And if that move doesn't present itself, we'll be smart and make it at a later time."

That's a pretty strange thing to say. You can't just level up to championship contender status with a single move, unless you're trading for a superstar. 

I'm not talking about a Bradley Beal trade. He can't stay healthy, hogs the ball, and is not a plus defender. Even a Damian Lillard deal seems risky given how expensive he is and how little he offers on defense. It might be worth the risk, but it's not a guaranteed title given the age and injury history of incumbent LA All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. I'm talking about a trade for, say, Jimmy Butler, an incredible win-now two-way talent whose deal will start to look dicey in a year or two as he ages. The Lakers need defensive help, they can't just plug in a scoring All-Star and hope Anthony Davis can clean everything up inside.

It might behoove LA to just improve the team at the deadline. I'm not saying the Lakers need to jettison both their future first-round draft picks in the name of roster improvement. But at the same time, it would be almost irresponsible to waste what's left of 38-year-old LeBron James's All-Star level playing days without even a postseason appearance, which could very much still happen this year with the current roster -- although I suspect that the more likely scenario is this LA team finishes in the play-in range as a 7-10 seed.

Los Angeles still has four second-round draft picks it could burn this year, too, if shipping out a first-rounder feels too risky.