To say that the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2018-19 season was a bust would be the biggest understatement of the year. For starters, former President of Basketball Operations (Magic Johnson) and current general manager (Rob Pelinka) made what was considered the steal of the offseason by adding superstar LeBron James. Even with James at their disposal, the Lakers missed the playoffs.
During the trade deadline, the Lakers offered up half of their roster for Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans. Talks fell through, but the damage was already done to the core of a team still searching for an identity.
Now that Magic Johnson has moved on and Luke Walton is no longer the coach, the Lakers will head into the offseason in search of necessary leadership. With rumors that Tyronn Lue could replace Walton, the whispers are that James once again has his hand in decisions in which he should not.
Whomever the new coach may be, he will enter the offseason with the same approach Johnson and Walton did — win a championship. However, the roster is not on that level. In order for the Lakers to become serious contenders in the Western Conference, moves must be made.
Here are three way-to-early offseason trade targets for the Los Angeles Lakers.
3. Eric Gordon, Shooting Guard, Houston Rockets
The Lakers are in dire need of a shooter. This past season they had to rely on Josh Hart, Lance Stephenson, Reggie Bullock, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. While they were deep, the production didn’t mirror the bodies. One move the Lakers could make here is putting in an offer for Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets.
What makes Gordon such an ideal match for the Lakers is his ability to not only shoot, but also move over to the point guard position. Over the last two seasons when Chris Paul has been out with numerous injuries, the backcourt of Gordon and Harden never missed a beat. With Lonzo Ball still trying to find his way, Gordon could be a good addition and be used as a great mentor to Ball.
2. Karl-Anthony Towns, Center, Minnesota Timberwolves
Adding LeBron to the roster left a void in the middle that Pelinka and Johnson tried to fill with veterans JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler. For the majority of the year, the duo worked well. However, the Lakers need a stable paint force and Towns is that guy.
His time with the Timberwolves has not been as productive as he or the organization would like. In his four seasons in the NBA, Towns has led the Wolves to one playoff appearance. While he’s considered one of the best post players in the game, the Wolves’ win/loss record does not match his potential.
Despite the Lakers’ futile attempts to make a trade for Anthony Davis, the Wolves may be a bit more inclined to move Towns after another season of failure.
John Wall, Point Guard, Washington Wizards
Lonzo Ball is not the answer for the Lakers. His style of play does not mesh well with James and Co. In 2018-19, he averaged 9.9 points and 5.4 assists. Although he played in only 47 games due to injuries, there’s no way his numbers should be considered acceptable with the scoring talent surrounding him. It’s time to make a move.
Wall and the Washington Wizards are due for a divorce. Each season, the Wizards are picked to be among one of the top teams in the East and each season they have regressed. With Wall out this year due to another injury, Bradley Beal stepped up and took on the role of leadership.
While the Wizards missed the playoffs, it was clear that Beal has become the face of the franchise. The Lakers could make a play here and possibly get Wall for a great deal to pair with LeBron James and hope they can steal Kawhi Leonard away from Toronto or another top free agent.