It’s still early in the NBA season but it’s clear the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t playing at as a high level as they did to start last season. They won 20 games last season before they lost their third. This season, they’ve already lost three of 10 games. It was expected that they’d get off to a slow start thanks to the shortened offseason but some already believe the Lakers should make a move.
In the offseason, Los Angeles decided to trade away starting center JaVale McGee to the Cleveland Cavaliers so that they could sign Marc Gasol. Former NBA big man Kendrick Perkins believes that the Lakers made a mistake and should figure out how to get McGee back.
McGee is having a decent season so far with the Cavaliers. He’s been relegated to a backup role but is averaging more points than last season (8.8 a game compared to 6.6) and more rebounds (6.4 a game compared to 5.7). Cleveland is having a decent start to the season at 5-5 so they might not be so eager to let go of a key role player.
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Should Lakers Actually Trade for McGee?
Considering Gasol is the Lakers’ only true center, it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to give him a solid backup like McGee. Montrezl Harrell has played center for most of his career but at only 6-foot-8, he’s a liability on defense a lot of the time.
That said, trading for McGee doesn’t seem realistic right now. If the Lakers thought they needed him, they wouldn’t have traded him away, to begin with. Plus, they don’t really have anything to trade. They don’t have any draft assets they can trade and they probably don’t want to give up a key player to land McGee. It would be nice to have a little more size of the roster but Los Angeles would probably prefer to keep Talen Horton-Tucker or Harrell than add McGee.
Gasol Isn’t Playing That Poorly
Gasol is about to turn 36 later this month so it’s fair to say he’s past his athletic prime. He’s no longer going to be playing in All-Star games. When it comes to scoring, he’s a shell of his former self. Gasol is only averaging 4.3 points per game. However, the Lakers don’t need him to do that much on offense. He occasionally makes a beautiful assist, which is more than can be said about Dwight Howard or McGee last season.
He’s also still effective on defense. Gasol is averaging 1.5 blocks per game, which is tied for sixth-best in the NBA. That’s not to mention that when Gasol and LeBron James are on the court together, they have the best net rating in the NBA. Gasol has certainly slowed down and Perkins is right to point out that he’s not playing his best basketball. That said, he’s still a good player and a solid fit with the Lakers. He’s not going anywhere.