When LeBron James decided that the next chapter of his career would be in Los Angeles, Laker fans were ecstatic. The thought of the team being relevant and challenging at the top of the NBA again is what fans have been waiting patiently for.
Well, it has not gone exactly to plan so far. Since James suffered a groin injury against the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, the team have been on the decline, drastically. It is now at the point where the team are flirting with a .500 record and currently find themselves out of the playoff picture. Missing the playoffs would be a disaster, and is a scenario that Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are keen to avoid.
The lack of three-point shooting within the roster has been concerning and something that the front office have defended on multiple occasions. Stating that they purposely added playmakers over three-point shooters as a way of combating the Golden State Warriors.
“When you think of some of the teams that had great shooting besides Golden State, all those teams really got beat. But then you look at a team like Boston who had, again, multiple ball handlers, guys that can put it down on the ground and get their own shot, they advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference finals.” – Magic Johnson, 13th July 2018.
Now, it is being reported that the Lakers are looking to the trade market to improve the roster, with the deadline fast approaching on February 7th. According to the Athletic’s Bill Oram, two types of trades are being approached.
1) A blockbuster trade that lands a second superstar that makes the Lakers a true threat in the Western Conference this season and beyond.
2) A trade that shores up the current roster, adding a three-point shooter, increasing the chances of saving face and making the playoffs.
Rumours have been swirling over the past week, with it becoming apparent that Magic and Pelinka are prepared to break up the young core to land a superstar right now. Pelicans superstar, Anthony Davis, springs to mind straight away. However, Davis is currently injured and has not shown any desire to leave New Orleans before the summer. Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards could be another option too.
*Update, 28/01/19: Reports suggest that Anthony Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, has notified the Pelicans that Davis does not intend to re-sign long-term. A trade has been requested.
When LeBron James fell to injury, many expected the Lakers’ young core of Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart to step up and prove their worth in James’ absence. It was time for the young core to show that the Lakers are more than just the Ohio-born superstar. In the 15 games without James, the team have won just 5 games. With the toughest stretch of the season approaching, the Lakers are in dire need of saving the season before the record drops below .500.
Bill Oram did continue to report that the Lakers do possess a backup plan if they are unable to land a superstar right now. This appears to be in the pursuit of a three-point shooter on an expiring deal. Options include; Wayne Ellington of the Miami Heat, Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic, Garrett Temple of the Memphis Grizzlies, and Washington Wizards’ Trevor Ariza.
With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, expect the rumours to continue as the Lakers pursue a trade to improve the roster.
By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)