A 9-10 start to the 2021-22 NBA season is far from what the Los Angeles Lakers expected entering the year, especially given all the firepower they added to their roster in the offseason.
Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Malik Monk and Kent Bazemore were just a few of the big names this team added, yet this team has greatly underachieved.
Of course LeBron James missing 11 games so far this season has not helped them in any way, but Westbrook’s fit seems to be in question and this team has a lot to fix on the defensive-end of the floor.
Anthony Davis is still a menace derisively, but the rest of this roster looks like they are playing pick-up basketball at the park some nights!
Last season, the Los Angeles Lakers ranked 1st in the league in defensive rating and the year before that, their championship season, they ranked 3rd in the league in defensive rating. So far this year, Los Angeles ranks 20th in the league in defensive rating and their offense is even worse, as they rank 25th in the league in offensive rating.
Not many teams across the league are going to make the playoffs ranking below 20th in both offensive and defensive rating, which is why the Lakers do need to be worried about their chances of contending for a title this year. Health and durability is a major concern for this team and with almost no perimeter threats, they have a lot of work to do leading up to the trade deadline.
Being well over the salary cap for this season and paying a lot of taxes to have the team they do, the Lakers do not have a lot of room to make big moves unless they are willing to trade Russell Westbrook, something that does not seem like a possibility, at least right now.
Adding more shooting depth and versatile players who can play many different positions is all this team needs, especially given all of their injury concerns. LeBron James’ health this year is definitely a major “yellow flag” for this team and with guys like Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza not even making their debuts yet, Los Angeles is going to need all the depth they can get.
Targeting some low-cost, high-reward players is going to be the goal of this front-office as the trade deadline inches closer, but they could look to pursue one key talent who is making $20M this season. Do the Lakers have the ability to even make said deals?
Let’s take a look at three players the Los Angeles Lakers could target at the trade deadline this year proposed by Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley and evaluate whether or not Los Angeles should “pass or pursue” said trade targets.
Jerami Grant – Detroit Pistons
Out of all the players in the league, one of the trade targets for the Los Angeles Lakers that makes the most sense based on fit is Jerami Grant. From his time in Denver to the player he is now, Grant is the full-package in terms of being the two-way threat the Lakers need on the wing next to LeBron James.
With LeBron James’ health in question for what seems like the first time in his career, as well as the Lakers having a long-term durability concern with some of the older guys on their roster, they need a younger, dynamic player who can fill many roles on the wing.