With the NBA season nearing its halfway mark, it’s clear that the Los Angeles Lakers roster has major flaws. The team is still very much in the thick of the playoff race but it’s almost impossible to see this team as it is currently constructed competing for a championship. The Lakers have already been involved in a number of trade rumors but they have to make sure they make the right deal before finalizing anything.
A major focus should be on finding some wing defense. Wings who can shoot and play defense aren’t always cheap to come by but the Lakers have options. According to former NBA executive John Hollinger, there are a few specific players the team will almost certainly take a long look at.
“Surely they are making calls about guards who can play off the ball, such as Portland’s Norman Powell, San Antonio’s Derrick White and Boston’s Marcus Smart, but they may need to set their sights a bit lower,” Hollinger wrote in The Athletic.
All three of the players Hollinger mentioned could be difference-makers for the Lakers. Smart has been named NBA All-Defensive First Team on two separate occasions while both White and Powell are capable defenders. As Hollinger noted, none of them will be particularly easy to land but the Lakers should at least explore the possibility of adding any of the three.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
What About Bogdan Bogdanovic?
The Lakers don’t exactly have many great tradable assets right now. Talen Horton-Tucker hasn’t played well in recent weeks and he was their only appealing trade piece. It’s fair to question if teams are still high on him after his recent slump. Hollinger floated another struggling player as a possible target. He believes the Atlanta Hawks could consider trading Bogdan Bogdanovic:
Here’s one to think about: Would the Hawks, after an unfathomable eight consecutive home losses, consider a Bogdan Bogdanovic deal? He’s been struggling this year and has $18 million on the books next year, when the Hawks will push into the tax as presently constructed. Atlanta also doesn’t exactly lack for young wings. (They’re all injured right now, but still.)
Bogdanovic has been a rumored target of the Lakers in the past so it’s feasible that they’d still be interested. He’s averaging a career-low 11.7 points a game this season but was really good last year. He hit 43.8% of his 3-point attempts and averaged 16.4 points a game. If he can regain last year’s form, he’d be a great pickup for Los Angeles.
Will THT Bounce Back This Season?
If the Lakers hope to make a trade for a notable player, they will likely have to trade Horton-Tucker. The issue is that he could be losing value with each passing game. Despite Los Angeles being shorthanded, he’s fallen out of the team’s starting lineup. He’s shooting just 38% from the field has been one of the worst 3-point shooters in the NBA with a percentage of 26.4%.
The Lakers have been high on Horton-Tucker for years now and even gave him a decent payday in the offseason. If he doesn’t turn things around soon, his future with the team will continue to get murkier.