This season has been a roller coaster ride for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team is on the hunt to defend their championship crown from a season ago, but in the midst of that, their star power forward Anthony Davis goes down with a calf injury. Things may not look too great for the Lakers as of now, but they still have LeBron James to lead the way. It will be one difficult challenge for the Lakers to win another championship, with teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz and crosstown rival Clippers breathing down their necks.
The Lakers headed into the All-Star break as the number three seed in the Western Conference. The team has lost seven of their last 10 games and have shown an evident drop in momentum and confidence in themselves. It’s been a challenge for Frank Vogel to figure out how to fill the void of Davis’ loss.
As Dennis Schroder returned to the lineup against Portland, he made a huge impact by his assertiveness on offense. But obviously Schroder’s return doesn’t fill the huge hole that Davis left behind. The question is what do the Lakers need to bring in to help with the void?
The March 25th trade deadline is approaching in two weeks. The Lakers can either make a few offers to give their team a higher chance to win or continue to go with their core group. Davis is expected back within a few weeks. However, that shouldn’t stop the Lakers from looking to improve with trade, whether big or small in impact.
Here are two trades that the Lakers should look into during or before the trade deadline:
Length at the big man position
Last year’s Lakers were impossible to score against under the basket. The team consisted of a big man rotation featuring Javale McGee, Dwight Howard, and Davis as the dominant frontcourt. That level of rim-protection has been sorely missed by the Lakers this season. As Howard and McGee both departed in the offseason, it has been a struggle to contain teams when penetrating into the paint.
The Lakers expected Marc Gasol to fill in the enforcer role at the center position. But throughout this season, Gasol has started to show his age as a player. He hasn’t had that same attention to detail to protect the paint the same way he did during his Defensive Player of the Year season. Do the Lakers need to trade Gasol? No. But the addition of more length in the frontcourt can provide tremendous help going forward.
The Lakers have shown their interest in McGee again as the trade deadline nears. With McGee unable to find his footing with Cleveland, a Purple & Gold reunion may be what he needs. McGee’s return to the Lakers would be a small transaction that could bring a much larger impact than expected.
More shot creators
The Lakers have shown that they’re still a dominant defensive team. But the offense has been a different story. They’ll obviously survive as long as James remains the floor general on the court.
His offensive game allows the defense to have all eyes on him at the top of the key. This gives James the ability to find an open man and lead them to a good look from the perimeter. But bringing in a player who can look for his shot can take the pressure off of James to allow him to impact the game from other areas. As other rosters are building up with more talent, the Lakers have options to grab a dynamic wing who can put the ball on the floor for himself.
Could there be a possibility that the Lakers can trade for Victor Oladipo from Houston? It may be a long shot but the front office could attempt with a few offers. Oladipo is a phenomenal two-way player who can light up the floor with his scoring ability.
In order to successfully grab Oladipo, the Lakers would need to match salaries with veterans Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Wesley Matthews, and Markieff Morris. As a sweetener, the Lakers would need to add promising youngster Talen Horton-Tucker to be part of the Rockets’ youth movement. It may be tough for the Lakers to give up a future piece, but Oladipo makes the Lakers that much scarier for a repeat bid.
Oladipo has shown his unwillingness to grow with the Rockets organization over the past few months. A change of scenery could be exactly what he needs, and Los Angeles isn’t a bad place for it to happen.