The hits keep on coming for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team announced on January 6 that Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves will be out for at least the next two weeks.
Walker IV is dealing with left knee tendinitis, while Reaves has a left hamstring strain.
The Lakers are 17-21 on the season. They are in 12th place in the Western Conference standings. Walker IV and Reaves join Anthony Davis on the injured list. Davis has a stress injury in his right foot and it’s unknown when the superstar big man will play again.
Walker IV is third on the Lakers in points per game and first in made 3-pointers. He’s in his first season with the Lakers after spending the first four years of his career with the Spurs. The 24-year-old is averaging 14.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists for the Lakers while shooting 45.5% from the field, 38.4% from beyond the arc and 87.5% from the free-throw line.
Reaves, who has become a fan favorite in Los Angeles, is sixth on the Lakers in points per game and third in 3-point field goals. The Arkansas native is averaging 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists this season while shooting 48.8% overall, 36.0% on 3-pointers and 89.6% from the charity stripe.
Kendrick Nunn, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Max Christie will get more playing time while Walker IV and Reaves are out.
The Lakers Signed Sterling Brown to a 10-Day Contract
The Lakers have signed forward Sterling Brown to a 10-day contract in the wake of losing Walker IV and Reaves. Brown has appeared in 264 games across five seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. He has career averages of 5.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists.
Most recently, Brown played in four games for the Raptors 905 of the NBA G League, averaging 11.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks. He’s listed at 6-foot-5 and 219 pounds.
The Lakers are ninth in the league in points per game and 19th in offensive rating. LeBron James has been on a tear ever since Davis got hurt on December 16 against the Denver Nuggets. James is averaging 35.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.4 assists over his last eight games. The four-time MVP and four-time Finals MVP, who turned 38 on December 30, is eighth in the NBA in points per game, 13th in assists per game and 12th in player efficiency rating.
Overall on the season, James is putting up 29.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game. He’s on his way to making his 19th All-Star Game and 19th All-NBA team.
Are the Lakers Going to Make a Trade?
Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times reported on December 28 that the Lakers may not make a trade this season. General manager Rob Pelinka doesn’t want to part ways with the team’s first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 unless he can get a star in return.
“The Lakers’ means for improving their roster this season are limited, rules prohibiting them from trading first-round picks other than the ones they have in 2027 and 2029 because of the steep price they paid for Davis,” Woike reported. “Internally, sources said, there’s been serious consideration given to riding out the season without making a major deal if they can’t find one that would make the team a realistic contender.”
Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated said on the January 3 episode of “The Crossover NBA Show with Chris Mannix and Howard Beck” that the Lakers have been advised to keep their future draft picks.
“They obviously are not willing to trade the picks,” Beck said. “And I’ve heard rumblings, and they’re only rumblings, so I don’t want people to go too far with this or go crazy with the aggregation, but a couple (of) people around the league have told me in recent weeks that they believe that the front office has essentially been told not to trade the picks, that they’re guarding those.”