The Los Angeles Lakers are still weighing whether or not they’ll make a splash trade this season but the real big move could be coming down the line in an effort to keep LeBron James happy.
Trade rumors have engulfed the Lakers since the offseason but LA has yet to bite on making a move. They’ve brought in some fringe roster players for workouts but the team has been very careful when it comes to trades due to their limited resources to make something happen.
As of January 15, the Lakers sit at 19-23 and are just a few games out of a playoff spot, rebounding from a miserable start to the season. But there are questions about whether or not the Lakers would be a true contender this season even if they made a move.
Anthony Davis dealing with a serious foot injury that has seen him miss 14 games and there are questions about the Lakers’ depth, especially in the frontcourt.
Lakers Could Be Eyeing Offseason Blockbuster for Star
Rather than making a move this season with their two available first-round picks, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated feels the Lakers could be eyeing a more impactful move for a big name this offseason to pair with James and Davis.
“Internally, I’m sure the Lakers are selling James on an offseason when Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard becomes available, and L.A. swoops in with its picks to acquire them,” Mannix said. “But that’s more fantasy than reality.”
The Lakers will have more flexibility this offseason, with Russell Westbrook’s hefty contract off the books. Westbrook is making more than $47 million this season — the most on the roster — to function in a sixth-man role. While Westbrook has been much-improved, the Lakers could do quite a bit with that chunk of change.
LeBron James Putting Pressure on Front Office to Win Now
With the trade deadline approaching on February 9, the heat has been turned up on the Lakers when it comes to improving the roster. LeBron James has applied much of that pressure, not just with some statements, but also with his play.
The 38-year-old James is averaging 29.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists, proving that he can still be the engine for a contending team if the right pieces are in place, which he stressed after a December 28 loss to the Miami Heat.
“I’m a winner and I want to win,” James said. “And I want to win and give myself a chance to win and still compete for championships. That has always been my passion, that has always been my goal since I entered the league as an 18-year-old kid out of Akron, Ohio.
“I don’t wanna finish my career playing at this level from a team aspect. I still want to compete for championships. I know what I can bring to any ball club with the right pieces.”
After dropping their last two games, the Lakers will be looking to get on track Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers and Joel Embiid, who have won six out of their last eight games.