When the Los Angeles Lakers won the championship a year ago, it looked like it could be the start of a dynasty. LeBron James and Anthony Davis played incredibly well together and easily formed the NBA’s best duo. At the start of this most recent season, they appeared poised to roll through the league once again. The team started off 21-6 and LeBron was playing like an MVP.
Unfortunately, the Lakers started getting bombarded with injuries. First, Davis went down with a calf injury, and then LeBron sprained his ankle. While both guys were able to return for the playoffs, neither of them was able to stay healthy long enough for a real championship run. It was a harsh dose of reality for Los Angeles.
Instead of forming a dynasty, the Lakers are now trying to figure how to get back into title contention. According to The Atheltic’s Sam Amick, the team doesn’t believe it has many more years to compete with the current core.
“The injuries to James and Davis last season were an unwelcome reminder of that much, leading some Lakers officials to worry that this window might be even shorter than they’d originally hoped,” Amick wrote. “As such, they’re in the process of turning over all the proverbial stones in search of the right piece(s) to return to the NBA’s mountaintop. Their time is now, in other words — again.”
LeBron is 36-years-old now and Davis has a long injury history. Both could still be elite players for several more years but the Lakers would be wise to try and take advantage of the two superstars before it’s too late.
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How Big Is the Lakers’ Window?
With the current roster, the Lakers’ championship window isn’t huge. LeBron realistically only has two or three more seasons as one of the 10 best players in the NBA. He could play well into his 40s but it would be completely unprecedented if he remained one of the league’s best for that long.
The key to the Lakers’ future is Davis. He’s only 28-years-old and could be an elite player for another seven or eight years if he can stay healthy. That’s not a guarantee though. He’s only played more than 70 games in a season twice throughout his career. His 36 games last season were the least of his career. It’s fair to question if he’ll ever be able to stay healthy consistently. If he can’t, the Lakers’ championship window may already be closed.
Lakers Will Need a 3rd Star Eventually
As of right now, the Lakers don’t have the assets or cap space to land a young superstar to pair with Davis and LeBron. However, finding a younger running mate to pair with Davis will be a necessity when LeBron declines. Luckily, there are many players who want to play in Los Angeles.
It may be unlikely, but the Lakers could even find a solid star this offseason on a discount. Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times recently reported that DeMar DeRozan has an interest in returning home to play for the Lakers. He’s not in the superstar category but he’d certainly qualify as a third star for the team.