While many teams are preparing for an exciting, formidable next couple of months of NBA basketball, the Los Angeles Lakers once again find themselves in for a long summer.
Fans and experts are wondering what went so catastrophically wrong that the team that reigned supreme just two years ago, couldn’t even make the Play-In Tournament, and got booted from the first round of playoffs last year.
Rumors have long been circulating of head coach Frank Vogel being replaced, and Vice President of Basketball Operations Rob Pelinka could be on the hot seat as well.
The offseason won’t be any more clear for Anthony Davis, who is coming off another injury-plagued season. It’s possible the Lakers could look to trade him for someone more durable, but he’s not concerned about that, he recently told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“I can’t control those things,” Davis told ESPN after the Lakers’ loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, which eliminated L.A. from play-in tournament contention. “That’s an upstairs thing. A Klutch, Rich Paul thing. My agency.
“I mean, my job is to go out and play basketball. Obviously I love it in L.A. If that’s something that they’re considering, then we’ll have a conversation about it. I don’t know what they’re talking about, what’s the plan.”
To be clear, Davis has no indication that the Lakers will trade him, but as a 10-year NBA veteran, he is aware of how the league works. “I mean, I don’t think they’re planning on doing anything [with me],” he said. “I don’t know, man. F—, I don’t know.”
After a thoroughly disappointing season, it’s hard to say who will be on the roster next year. Davis’ contract with the Lakers ends in 2025, so the team still has a couple more years to build around him. As for LeBron James, who becomes a free agent in 2023, it will be interesting to see if he signs an extension this summer.
Giving up Davis would be wasting the last four year’s worth of transactions the Lakers went through to acquire him to pair with James. The Lakers traded Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, along with multiple first-round draft picks for Davis.
While it would hurt to trade Davis considering all that the team gave up for him, we’ve certainly seen stranger things happen in the NBA.
Lakers use vacant roster spot on Wenyen Gabriel
The Lakers wasted no time in filling in the empty spot on the roster created by waiving Trevor Ariza on Thursday. Wenyen Gabriel, who has only played 24 games with the team this season, was on the receiving end of the deal.
The forward originally joined the Lakers in early March, signing a two-way contract with them. His energy on the floor and consistent effort on defense impressed enough for Gabriel to earn a standard NBA contract, the team announced Friday.
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