The Los Angeles Lakers’ season seems to be reaching a breaking point as their latest loss dropped them to 2-7, continuing to dig a hole to will soon be nearly impossible to dig out of.
Rob Pelinka is reportedly planning to wait 20-25 games before deciding if a trade makes sense to upgrade the roster. The Lakers have Russell Westbrook’s expiring $47 million contract and their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to offer, which would really be the only way to make additions given the team’s lack of assets.
If the Lakers’ record is so poor at that point that the playoffs are lost though, then it wouldn’t make sense to use valuable assets to fix a lost cause.
In that case, it will be interesting to see if the Lakers pivot and actually become sellers instead of buyers ahead of the trade deadline. It appears that is something the organization is contemplating right now as The Ringer’s Bill Simmons reported on his podcast that “Plan B” would be trading Anthony Davis:
“The Lakers lost again. There’s some buzz, just some buzzing that AD might be available. That is a Plan B because the Westbrook trade, or what they can get for Westbrook, whether you want to give future assets, maybe that doesn’t even make sense for the Lakers. You’ve got Davis here, who hasn’t looked the same in a couple of years. Certainly, not close to bubble Davis, that’s the last time we saw vintage, 2018 Pelicans’ level Davis. This year he’s on the books for 37.9, next year 40.6, player option in 2025, 43.2. I don’t know what the endgame for this Lakers team is, but the Pelicans have their pick. I don’t think whatever they have, is not really fixable to make them a playoff team.”
The 29-year-old Davis is the Lakers’ only trade chip that could bring back some value in return. Davis wouldn’t be able to fetch over a package on the level of what the Lakers gave up for him a few years ago, but he is still a two-way force that some teams could convince themselves would put them over the top.
Simmons’ report should probably be taken with a grain of salt though considering the Lakers have never expressed anything other than they are happy with their franchise being led by Davis and LeBron James and that they want to build around those two moving forward.
James and Davis are known to be really close friends and the former is not eligible to be traded until next summer. So if the Lakers do follow through and trade Davis then they would risk losing James’ trust. If he asks for a trade next summer then the Lakers would be headed for a full rebuild.
That may be exactly what the organization needs right now. The only problem is that the New Orleans Pelicans have the right to swap first-round picks with the Lakers this season and then have L.A.’s pick unprotected in either 2024 or 2025. So the Lakers have no real incentive to tank, which is why trading Davis is still unlikely.
Who knows how bad things can get with this team though. If they don’t turn it around soon then it wouldn’t be totally surprising to see drastic measures be taken before it’s too late.
Davis says he has to demand ball more
On the court, Davis has seemed to disappear in the second half of games recently. He has just four total points in his last two second halves combined and after a recent loss to the Utah Jazz, he said that’s on him to demand the ball more.
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