As the NBA nears the halfway point of the 2022-23 season, the contenders, pretenders and lottery-bound teams are starting to round into form. So as the Los Angeles Lakers sit at 14-21, panic has reached an all-time high as to whether or not L.A. can make any type of run this season.
The 14-21 record puts the Lakers at 13th in the Western Conference after losing five of their last six contests without Anthony Davis in the lineup. The only silver lining is that due to the compressed Western Conference standings, the Lakers are only 3.5 games out of 10th place and five games out of sixth.
But with each passing day, the Lakers have to decide whether or not a potentially season-saving trade is worthwhile given the options that are available league-wide.
And with the current losing stretch and a lack of clarity surrounding Davis’ injury, further consideration is reportedly being given to simply moving forward as is and re-evaluating in the offseason, according to Dan Woike of The L.A. Times:
Internally, sources said, there’s been serious consideration given to riding out the season without making a major deal if they can’t find one that would make the team a realistic contender.
Based on these rumors, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that any type of major trade — one involving the team’s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks — is made. It’s difficult to see any type of deal turning the Lakers from seven games below .500 to a realistic contender.
This is especially true because the options on the trade market have not drastically altered since the summer. The Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks all remain options, but there haven’t been any new and enticing offers.
Perhaps there is still a move to be made on the margins involving players like Kendrick Nunn, Patrick Beverley and lower-end minimum contracts. But it seems the unprotected draft picks have been a line L.A. has been unwilling to cross if the return is not substantial towards a winning effort.
There are still six weeks until the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline. If Davis can make a return to the lineup with the Lakers staying afloat, perhaps the team’s philosophy will change. But there’s a high likelihood that the playoffs are out of reach well before teams are ready to make significant deals.
LeBron James emphasizes desire to be competitive
In wake of rumors about how long LeBron James is going to play, the Lakers superstar said that his goal is not a specific number of years, but to remain competing for a championship. He — almost ominously — said that he has to see how fresh his mind stays if his teams are not competitive like his current situation.
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