The Los Angeles Lakers might have strung a couple of wins together, but they’re still sitting in 14th place within the Western Conference standings.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, their roster is poorly constructed, and without finding some additional talent to help improve the teams’ chances, there’s a very real possibility the Lakers could miss the playoffs for the second straight season. However, outside of their 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks, Los Angeles is limited in terms of legitimate trade assets.
According to a Western Conference Executive, who spoke with Heavy on Sports NBA Insider Sean Deveney, under the condition of anonymity, Anthony Davis’ recent performances are likely to have garnered interest from around the league, and now, he’s likely the Lakers’ best trade asset should they look to the trade market to turn their season around.
“Besides the picks? Yes. But even that, it depends on the team. For a guy like Giannis or Luka, there would be 29 teams willing to make a deal. Davis, because of the injuries, that group is smaller. Phoenix might be willing to gamble. The Bulls would because he is a Chicago guy. The Bucks have explored getting Davis there before, too. Big-market teams that want a home run, like the Knicks or Nets – they would be in the mix, too. But his value has taken a pretty big hit, obviously, in the last few years,” The executive said.
Through his first 13 games this season, Davis has been performing like a superstar, providing the Lakers with 25.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 54.8% from the floor, so it would be no surprise if teams began gauging the Lakers interest in trading the star big man.
Western Conference Coach Questions Davis’ Defense
A significant issue with the Lakers’ current roster construction, is their lack of a true rim-protector outside of Davis. Usually, the star big man prefers to operate alongside a rim-running center, which limits his obligations in defending the paint and allows him to become more of a wing-stopper on the perimeter.
According to a Western Conference coach, who also spoke with Deveney under the condition of anonymity, the Lakers should consider moving to a ‘double-big’ lineup so that Davis’ defensive limitations are better contained.
“What you are seeing from him this year is why he has always said he does not want to play the 5. He is doing a good job offensively but there is too much put on him defensively and they’re just not as good a team with him in the middle as they are with someone else. Their problem is now, it is all or nothing. Either they get to put him on the floor at center and the offense works the way it is supposed to but the defense suffers, or they get him out of there and the offense is bad but the defense gets better.
We saw what Boston did last year playing two bigs (Robert Williams and Al Horford). Players now, they’re athletic enough and smart enough to be able to guard the paint and still contest on the perimeter. I don’t see why the Lakers would not try it more, they have nothing to lose,” The coach said.
It will be interesting to see if the Lakers acquire an additional center to allow Davis to move back to his preferred role within the team, or if they continue to play him as their center for the remainder of the season.
Davis Shares Thoughts on Playing The 5
Speaking to the media following the on November 9, Davis shared his thoughts on his new role as the Lakers’ starting center and appeared to be sending a direct message to Rob Pelinka and the front office.
“I was able to roam a lot, I was playing the four then, JaVale (McGee) was playing the five, and Dwight (Howard) was playing the five. You know, guarding the perimeter and I got those guys behind me, or weakside helps, we were getting blocks from the weak side. Now, when I’m the five, I’m the one in the actions, pick-and-rolls, the one guarding the post – things like that…In 19-20, I was a roamer, when I can be on whoever the forward is and roam around and help protect everyone, it’s tough for me to do that when I’m guarding the five,” Davis told reporters during a post-game press conference.
If Davis is unhappy in his current role, and the Lakers are unable, or unwilling, to acquire an additional center, then perhaps they might consider trading the star big man, but given his current performance level, that might not be a popular move among the fan base.