Why the Lakers are the “first domino to fall” in this season’s NBA trade market

Yahoo Sports senior NBA reporters Vincent Goodwill and Jake Fischer unveil the upcoming Dec. 15 date when players signed to contracts last offseason can be traded.

Video transcript

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VINCENT STARTER: December 15, the world will open up. The skies will open for…

JAKE FISCHER: They say.

VINCENT STARTER: –the NBA commercial market. December 15th is an important day because it is the day, the first day that players who will sign their contracts in the off-season can be traded. That’s why you haven’t seen much activity to start the season. December 15 is usually the first day on the job that teams can really get off the ground.

I guess we can start with the Lakers, 8 and 2 in their last 10 games, or 8 and 0, maybe, 9 and 3, I think, after losing to Philadelphia and beating Detroit. I don’t know if they changed anything. I’ve seen them play. For example, five of those nine victories have come against San Antonio and Detroit, two teams that participate in the winners lottery. So it’s hard to say what this product is.

And Russell Westbrook sat through the entire fourth quarter. Darvin Ham just said, hey, the group I had, they were going. It wasn’t an indictment of Russ. But it was the team I liked on the pitch, the group I had on the pitch.

I’d be very curious to see if, even with the turnaround, Russ is still in the commercial market. I’m sure it is. But Jake, I’m sure the Lakers probably control the board, right?

JAKE FISCHER: They are definitely a big domino that other teams are waiting to see fall. And I think… I mean, the Orient has started to shake a little bit. And we woke up today. And it’s Boston, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Brooklyn, Philadelphia. They have somehow established themselves as the top five.

But the west is still packed. The rest of the East is still packed. And we’ve heard from so many executives, so many lower level staffers, so many agents, anyone with a modicum of knowledge, have used the rankings as a sort of excuse, in my opinion, not to come to an assessment of what’s your team.

I don’t care what the ranking is. 20 games into the season, how do you not have a strong assessment of what your team is? So I say all of this to say, I’m skeptical about how much activity we’ll see here while the standings are still bunched up because there’s still so many teams that look at the Lakers and say, oh, well, we’ll see what the Lakers do: they look at Phoenix and Jae Crowders and they say, oh, we’ll see what happens there. They are looking at the market being established, rather than wanting to be the team that sets the market.

So there are vendors available. There are veterans to be had. It’s going to be a matter of which team is actually brave enough to go out and do it, man. I really think that’s what’s going to happen: how this trading season starts.

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