The goal of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise is always to compete for and win championships. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the roster, the team has the foundation to do that if they can work some things out.
At the start of the season, it was clear that the roster was simply not championship caliber, though they have come together after a slow start and showed a lot of resiliency and fight. Even still, upgrades were needed and Pelinka got a good one with the acquisition of forward Rui Hachimura, who is already paying dividends.
The Lakers certainly look more like a playoff team now, but the franchise still wants more. And according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, there is belief within the organization that one more trade ahead of the deadline could turn the Lakers into a legit championship contender with the locker room having extra motivation after Davis was snubbed from the All-Star team:
The belief within the Lakers’ organization is that they need to make at least one more move by the Feb. 9 trade deadline to give themselves a legitimate shot at competing for a championship, sources say. The acquisition of Rui Hachimura and the return of Anthony Davis has provided a jolt of energy and a renewed sense of confidence in the locker room, along with some added motivation.
Lakers players were privately agitated that Davis wasn’t named a reserve to the Western Conference All-Star roster on Thursday, sources say.
Davis himself didn’t seem too upset about the All-Star snub, but it makes sense that the team as a whole would use it as motivation as they look to get back in the championship picture.
With James continuing to play at a high level and Davis looking getting closer to looking like the dominant player from earlier in the season, it makes sense that the Lakers believe within that they could contend. This especially holds true considering the state of the Western Conference where so many teams are bunched together that the Lakers still have a real chance at moving as high as the fourth seed if they put together a good win streak.
The attention will now turn to Pelinka and the front office and what kind of deal they can make. One that would put them into title contention will almost surely involve Russell Westbrook and rumors continue to circle around about possible teams in conversations with the Lakers.
Lakers have talked with Jazz about Westbrook trade; have interest in Irving
The latest team to pop up as a possibility for a Westbrook trade is another familiar one in the Utah Jazz. The Lakers have had ‘exploratory conversations’ with Utah on a potential deal, though it was also reported that the Lakers are in contact with a number of teams at the moment.
A deal with the Jazz would almost certainly include veteran point guard Mike Conley as well as another wing such as Malik Beasley or Jordan Clarkson. But as always, any potential deal will almost certainly come down to draft compensation and what Pelinka is willing to include.
It could also be a three-team deal that brings Kyrie Irving back to the Lakers after the Brooklyn Nets star requested a trade. It’s no secret that the Lakers have interest in Irving, but figuring out a deal that works for all parties could be tough.
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