Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka did a relatively great job putting together the 2019-20 NBA season roster, especially when considering the roster that was put together last season by former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson.
This is reflected in the team’s 24-7 record, one that currently leads the Western Conference. Despite this, the Lakers clearly have some room for improvement.
The 24-7 record neglects the four-game losing streak they are on, all losses to currently high-seeded playoff teams. This is concerning because when the 2020 NBA playoffs come around, the Lakers will not have any under .500 teams to play, a category of teams in which they are currently undefeated against. This means that before the playoffs, the Lakers have to do something that will get them to win more consistently against other championship contenders.
Luckily, this has already been thought of by Pelinka as it’s being reported he has interest in making an upgrade to the team, likely in the form of another ball-handler and scorer, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic:
The Lakers need a legitimate third scorer, ball-handling help and outside shooting. Kuzma is 24, is under contract for $3.6 million next season and, as he showed on Christmas, has a potentially huge upside. He is the young player teams would want if the Lakers pursue a major upgrade come February. The Lakers’ other chief potential trade chip is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who makes $8.1 million this season with a player option for $8.5 million next year. But he would have to approve a trade. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is interested in upgrading his team, but activity likely won’t come until closer to the deadline.
Despite the vagueness of this report, it seems as though Pelinka is aware of the flaws of this team and the types of players he needs to get in order to improve it.
The name that has been tied to the Lakers all season and fits every category of player that the team is missing is Andre Iguodala. However, he is currently stuck in limbo with the Memphis Grizzlies as they desperately seek a trade to avoid a buyout.
If the Lakers somehow land Iguodala, they become instant championship favorites. If they can’t, they’ll have to be creative otherwise. Players like Jeff Green, Robert Covington, Derrick Rose, and Jeff Teague would all be excellent fits on this team in one way or another, although the level of availability these players remains to be seen.
Either way, Pelinka and the Lakers will need to make a move prior to the 2019-20 NBA trade deadline or in the buyout market. If for nothing else, they need to show they’re committed to winning a championship this season.