The Los Angeles Lakers finally made a trade to improve the roster when the team parted ways with guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks for the services of Rui Hachimura of the Washington Wizards. Surprisingly, the Lakers did not wait until the trade deadline to make a move, and that could be a sign of better things to come in terms of roster improvements. Lakers fans should be quite happy with this deal because this could mean the front office, and Rob Pelinka specifically, are interested in making changes to help LeBron James on the court.
LeBron James is having a special year at age 38, posting 30.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 7.1 APG on 50.7% FG, insane numbers for a player that nobody thought would still be doing this at a high level in the NBA. The King needs help, and while Rui Hachimura is a nice addition, it is not enough. Anthony Davis has returned to the court, but he has only played 27 games so far and grimaces every time he goes down on the floor. His health is not guaranteed, which means the Lakers need immediate reinforcements.
The Lakers are off to a good start in terms of adding pieces, especially since they didn’t give up much, but they could continue building their team if they pull the trigger on at least one of these trades. The Lakers, despite being 24-28, are not that far off from booking their playoff spot because as long as they have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, they have a chance. It also seems that the Lakers are interested in making Anthony Davis the long-term franchise cornerstone, which makes the win-now initiatives even greater.
With the trade deadline around the corner on February 9th, the Lakers might have to accept one of the following three deals: The Bad, The Good, and The Perfect Deal. Of course, Lakers fans want a third star on the court for the Lakers, and anything less won’t cut it in a league that has at least 6 legitimate title contenders in the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, and Memphis Grizzlies. Without further ado, here is The Bad, The Good, or The Perfect trade that the Lakers might have to consider before the trade deadline.
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Doug McDermott, Josh Richardson, Jakob Poeltl
San Antonio Spurs Receive: Russell Westbrook
This is one ugly trade for the Los Angeles Lakers, as they are better off pinging their hopes on Russell Westbrook continuing to do a job coming off the bench. With all things considered, this is a deal that suits the San Antonio Spurs better because they can write off Westbrook’s salary next year when the point guard becomes a free agent while the Lakers are stuck with more role players. Only McDermott will be paid in 2024, as Richardson and Poeltl are free agents, and he isn’t exactly a world-beater. In other words, the Lakers are better off keeping Westbrook and should not do this deal.
The San Antonio Spurs are clearly tanking as their team is set up for immediate failure with the departure of All-Star Dejounte Murray. Otherwise, there aren’t any untouchables on the roster, perhaps other than Keldon Johnson. San Antonio might want to shed salary with the hopes of drafting Victor Wembanyama. The Frenchman is a very solid talent, and he is clearly the goal for a Spurs franchise that wants to grab a big man to become a long-term replacement for the legend that is Tim Duncan. Trading for Russell Westbrook, who has one year left on his deal, places the Sputs in the position to do that.