The Los Angeles Lakers have seemingly dodged a bullet with the injury report of Anthony Davis. The superstar big man aggravated his Achilles last night and many feared the worst. But it seems to only be a sprain and that means he is out of action for the foreseeable future, although it is not severe.
The Lakers need to take action even if Davis is fit to return because finishing with one of the top seeds in the West will be crucial to their title repeat. The Lakers should sign a top player to make up for Davis’s absence in the meantime and should do it fast.
The Lakers are currently $913k below the hard cap, and some key dates are in effect this month. Starting February 23, 10-day contracts can be signed. Starting February 24th, the Lakers can sign a player to a guaranteed contract for the rest of the season. Here are the top 5 targets for the Lakers before the trade deadline.
5. Hassan Whiteside
Quinn Cook, Kostas Antetokounmpo for Hassan Whiteside
Hassan Whiteside has seen his value crumble in recent years, especially since he is a big man who can’t stretch the floor. But Whiteside is a very effective center at crashing the boards and blocking shots, which are things the Lakers need to replace Anthony Davis.
Whiteside won’t score 20 points a night, but he will be a big body to throw at opposing big men to help out the undersized Montrezl Harrell. Whiteside back up Marc Gasol in the lineup for the Lakers and provide a big boost to the team’s defense.
4. Trevor Ariza
Trevor Ariza is a very popular player in Los Angeles because he helped Kobe Bryant and the Lakers win an NBA title in 2009. Ariza has always been a stout defender who hustles hard on both ends of the floor and is the epitome of a championship-caliber role player.
Ariza is nowhere near as effective as he was in 2009 as he has aged considerably, but he still plays tough defense and can hit the outside shot. The Lakers should find defenders at this moment and Ariza can do the trick.