There’s a breaking point for every team, a point where they realize it’s time to make a change. The moment when they say “enough is enough.”
This happened with the Clippers just a few years ago, when they traded all of their infamous “big three” after realizing they would never be good enough to win. It happened to the Raptors this past summer when they traded DeMar DeRozan in exchange for Kawhi Leonard (who might leave after a year) after finally understanding that what they had would never be enough.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, that breaking point is here. In the midst of a three-game losing streak, the team is noticing just how ugly things are without LeBron James. They were once the 4th seed in the West, but have since nose-dived to the 9th seed, 9.5 games back from the Warriors and struggling to keep their record over .500.
The Lakers have seen enough. In an interesting report by Bill Oram of The Athletic, he details that the Lakers are now willing to part with key members of their young core — a young core they previously held on to for dear life.
A blockbuster that lands the Lakers a second superstar that makes them a true threat in the Western Conference this season and beyond.
That is obviously the priority, even if it means parting with some combination of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma. Ideally, the Lakers would be able to land a second star in free agency and keep the core intact. However, with Anthony Davis unlikely to become available by the deadline, that particular dilemma may be a moot point this season.
He notes that while they could make a deal for a role-player to help ensure they make the playoffs, pulling off something bigger is where their sights lie at this point in the season. With an aging LeBron James (who is sidelined with injury) and a young core that drops their value with every loss, it makes sense that L.A.’s front office is more keen towards making a play for a more established star, even if it means giving up fan favorites.
As far as who the Lakers could get with a package including their youngsters, the possibilities are endless. If the team wants to make a major play, they only have a few more weeks to get it done. As the February trade deadline creeps closer, a sense of urgency and desperation will no doubt be hanging over Los Angeles.