After eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances in the Eastern Conference, LeBron James’ first season with the Los Angeles Lakers did not go according to plan.
Marred by injuries to James and the young core along with the Anthony Davis trade rumors, the Lakers ultimately missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.
Following a drama-filled start to the offseason, the Lakers are hoping that does not impact their ability to significantly improve the roster for the 2019-20 NBA season.
With the 2019 NBA Draft approaching, Kevin Love expressed confidence in his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate to lead the Lakers back to the NBA Finals, via TMZ Sports:
“Yeah, he definitely has to… you know, the young guys have to get one more year under their belt. Gotta do well in free agency and any time LeBron… he always just brings some excellence to them, so he’ll be great.”
As the Lakers are in search of a second All-Star player, the New Orleans Pelicans have provided more details about Anthony Davis, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Griffin is pursuing a combination of assets that include an All-Star player, a young player with All-Star potential and two first-round picks, league sources said. Those wants are on a sliding scale. For example, the better the player, the softer the asks on the draft picks — and vice versa.
While it is unclear if any team will be able to meet executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin’s demands, the Lakers are in a good position now.
Armed with the No. 4 pick and a max-contract slot, general manager Rob Pelinka has a grand opportunity in front of him. While the Lakers do not have an established All-Star player yet, they do fulfill the other requirements.
At this time, it appears a third team will have to be involved to facilitate a Davis trade to the Lakers. Out of the young core, Lonzo Ball has seemingly received the most interest from other teams like the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns.
Although Davis provides the Lakers an opportunity to win in the short- and long-term, it will be interesting to see what Pelinka’s offer is now that former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson is no longer involved.