The Los Angeles Lakers are currently half a game out of the 10th seed in the Western Conference, a position that would see them in the running for a play-in spot at the end of the season.
If Rob Pelinka and the front office believe that the Lakers’ current core is better designed for post-season basketball, they may look to make a trade in order to juice Los Angeles’ chances of climbing the Western Conference rankings in the second half of the season.
According to Alex Kirschenbaum of Sports Illustrated, one player that could make sense for the Lakers is Bruce Brown, the versatile wing who has a reputation for hard-nosed defense and high-level perimeter shooting. Kirschenbaum’s proposed trade looks like this:
Lakers Receive: Bruce Brown
Nuggets Receive: Lonnie Walker IV and a second-round draft pick
“Los Angeles needs plenty of defensive assistance, and in addition to being a pretty darn great three-point shooter (he’s nailing 40.4% of his 3.3 looks this season from deep), Brown can legitimately guard four positions on the floor and is also a decent playmaker,” Kirschenbaum wrote on January 9.
In 40 games for the Denver Nuggets so far, Brown is averaging 11 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 49.6% from the field, 40% from the perimeter, and 80.4% from the free-throw line.
LeBron James Could Retire With The Lakers
According to ESPN’S Zach Lowe, who was speaking on a January 10 episode of The Lowe Post podcast, there is a growing belief that LeBron James will remain with the Lakers for the remainder of his career – assuming they continue to improve their roster.
“I keep hearing he wants to stay with the Lakers. He wants to finish his career with the Lakers. His comments though should be interpreted as his patience is not infinite, and if this is just a continued morass of losing, maybe that changes. But if you force me to bet, I’d still bet on him finishing his career with the Lakers. And I’d feel pretty confident in that,” Lowe said.
LeBron, 38, has continued to defy the aging process this season, ranking among the best in the NBA with averages of 29.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game while shooting 51% from the field, 29.5% from the perimeter, and 75.6% from the charity stripe.
Brian Windhorst Also Believes LeBron Will Stay With Lakers
When speaking on a January 9 episode of The Hoops Collective Podcast, ESPN’S Brian Windhorst also shared his belief that LeBron will remain with the Lakers moving forward, noting how his recent contract extension showed his hand.
“His contract extension that he did last year. … That was the actions of somebody who has no intention of leaving the Lakers…So, really, his weapon is to make the Lakers uncomfortable. It’s not a threat he’s going to walk on them. I think the Lakers are fully aware of that,” Windhorst said.
Of course, if the Lakers continue to flounder, there is a chance LeBron’s plans could change, which is why a potential trade for a player such as Brown makes perfect sense for the Lakers, as it would upgrade their roster without sacrificing their future by costing them one of their 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks.
There is now less than a month remaining until the February 9 trade deadline, so it will be interesting to see how Rob Pelinka navigates the next few weeks and whether he decides to make a trade or wait until the summer and look to rebuild through free agency.