The Los Angeles Lakers were widely expected to be a bad team in 2022-23. That said, nobody expected them to be quite as awful as they have been.
Obviously it’s still early, but at the moment L.A. is the worst team in the league by a wide margin. And given that their first-round draft pick this season doesn’t even go to them, it goes to the New Orleans Pelicans, being this embarrassingly terrible doesn’t benefit the franchise long-term.
Moves need to be made to right the ship. Quickly.
Up to this point the Lakers have been mostly linked to either a trade involving Myles Turner and Buddy Hield with the Indiana Pacers, or one involving Mike Conley Jr., Rudy Gay and spare parts with the Utah Jazz. In either scenario, they would have to give up two first round draft picks to facilitate the move.
Because it’s hard to see either of those trades drastically altering L.A.’s season, particularly given the high cost involved, the Lakers’ front office has thus far stayed pat.
This week, a Western Conference executive spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy.com and offered two new NBA stars the Lakers should go after: Gary Trent Jr. of the Toronto Raptors and Max Strus of the Miami Heat.
“They should be smart and go for multiple players. Role players, guys like (Max) Strus, or bringing back Josh Hart and maybe going for Gary Trent (Jr.) if he opts out in Toronto,” the executive said.
“Strus will be a bargain next year, even though he’s been good in Miami, he will be undervalued.”
Specifically, Trent Jr. was highlighted as the best potential fit.
“Trent, though, he is probably the best fit for them,” the exec continued.
“He is a really strong perimeter defender and he is such a good shooter—they have not had that kind of guy since they got rid of (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) and Danny Green.
“Though, neither of those guys is the shooter Trent is. Trent might be out of their price range if they want to get two guys. Those are the guys they need, and if they could bring in more than one, that would be best for their situation.”
The obvious piece that would inevitably end up getting dispatched in any of these deals is Russell Westbrook. As things presently stand, three teams have expressed a willingness to take him off Los Angeles’ hands.
ESPN NBA insider Arian Wojnarowski recently offered a fairly blunt assessment of the Lakers’ choices at the moment.
Josh Allen and his girl just won Halloween. What a year for the Bills. https://t.co/MIMndzaMKX
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 29, 2022
Options seem limited.
Will the Lakers be able to turn this ship around and actually acquire a series of role players that could help them escape this hole they’ve dug for themselves?
Time will tell.