Lakers News: Darvin Ham Says It’s Important To Get Injured Players Back Before Assessing Roster Needs
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A majority of the noise surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers this season has been regarding if, and when, they’ll make a trade to improve their current 21-25 record. Even head coach Darvin Ham has jokingly requested that the team land more shooting before the trade deadline.

However, the most important issue facing L.A. right now is the injuries to Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV. One superstar and two major rotational pieces have been out for a significant amount of time, and it has seemingly affected the Lakers’ view on the trade market.

Ham was asked if he’d like to get Davis, Reaves and Walker back prior to making any big trade decisions, and he had a strong response. “Totally. We’re not that team that’s look at our watch waiting for the All-Star break to get here. We’re looking at it like we need to make up some ground during this time and go into the break with a really good rhythm,” Ham said. “And [Anthony Davis] is a big part of that whenever he returns.

“Just trying to get back whole. Not just him, but Austin and Lonnie and everyone else that’s been in and out of the lineup all year. But the biggest thing that I’m proud of is that for the most part we’ve been consistent with our competitiveness and the way we’re fought, scratched and clawed to be beaten, whether it’s last second and we pull a game out of whatever it is, we’ve been in every game just about.

“And that’s the thing we wanted to do in Year 1 is basically re-establish within the Laker brand that we’re gonna be competitive and we’re gonna fight,” Ham continued. “We’ll clean up the details and we’ll be better in different areas, but that’s the biggest thing is guys getting healthy and getting back into the mix is a big part of that.”

When asked if the injured players returning would revert the rotation back to what it was earlier in the season, Ham was not as definitive. “It always a level of performance and a consistent level of performance that you look for when you’re building out your lineup. And so we’ll see how quickly they are to getting back in rhythm and we’ll see where we can plug who where, whether it’s in the starting lineup or off the bench.

“So that’s something that remains to be seen, we’ll see how they respond to getting back on the floor and getting back with their teammates and then make a well-informed decision at that point.”

The Lakers have a number of decisions to make before pulling the trigger on any type of trade. They have rarely been fully healthy this season but have managed to remain a competitive team in spite of that, making a trade to push them to greater heights a fair response.

But L.A. is also 21-25 and sitting on the outside looking in at the Play-In Tournament. They may not have enough time to make up the ground necessary for a trade to be worthwhile.

Davis could return against Celtics

Luckily, it appears as though Davis’ return to the lineup could come even sooner than expected. There is optimism within the Lakers that he could be ready to go by next Saturday’s contest against the Boston Celtics. Walker and Reaves are also slated to be re-evaluated within the next week.

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