The Los Angeles Lakers are figuratively and literally hurting as they have now seen multiple key pieces of their rotation fall victim to injuries.
Anthony Davis has been out for over a month with a calf strain, and his co-star LeBron James joined him on the sidelines after suffering a high ankle sprain against the Atlanta Hawks. Without their two leading men, the Lakers could very well tumble down the standings in the coming weeks which may or may not matter come playoff time.
Head coach Frank Vogel was forced to lean on players like Damian Jones to fill the void in the frontcourt and the young center performed admirably in an extended role. Jones was the lob threat and shot-blocker Los Angeles was lacking, but the team did not re-sign him to a contract for the rest of the season after his second 10-day contract came to an end on Sunday.
Vogel praised Jones for his efforts and even went so far as to say that a future reunion was not out of the question.
“With D.J, the door is not closed, but we’re going to use this window of time approaching the trade deadline and the buyout market and we’re going to maintain our flexibility during this stretch to see what’s ahead of us,” Vogel said. “He did a good job for us and the door is not closed.”
The Lakers have been linked to several names via the trade and buyout market and it stands to reason that Vogel and the front office are looking for more veteran help during the second half of the season and playoffs. Jones flashed a skillset of need for L.A. but it would be unreasonable to expect him to make much of an impact once the games really matter.
However, Jones’ audition with the Purple and Gold should be considered a success and he would be a worthwhile addition at some point in the future.
Drummond in line for sizable role if he signs with Lakers
As far as players who could come in and make a difference right away, Andre Drummond fits the bill. Drummond has been away from the Cleveland Cavaliers as they search for a deal ahead of the trade deadline, but it seems more likely that he gets bought out.
The Lakers have a strong case to land the big man as he would likely start right away. He would also benefit from playing alongside James and Davis, as well as potentially be in line for a long-term deal if things work out for both sides.
With the March 25 deadline just a few days away, the Lakers should get some reinforcements soon considering they have two open roster spots. If they do not land Drummond or another quality big man, then they could circle back to Jones after the deadline if he does not sign elsewhere.
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