As soon as LeBron James signed with the Lakers last summer, the clock was ticking for the franchise. They had to surround him with the best possible players to regain their spot as NBA champions. After all, the last time they were in an NBA Finals was in 2009-2010, where the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in 7 games.
The Lakers quickly acquired Anthony Davis and were on top of a potential Kawhi Leonard trade too. That didn't materialize and the Lakers decided to move on with Kyle Kuzma as their third option. While the Lakers have the best record in the Western Conference and are one of the favorites to win it all, they are not as unstoppable as they should be.
Kuzma has been involved in trade rumors since the start of the season, and it might finally be time to move him. If the Lakers want to be the undisputed favorite for the title, they should target and trade for superstar point guard Damian Lillard.
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Alex Caruso, Avery Bradley (player option) and any fillers the Blazers want
The clock is certainly ticking for the Lakers. LeBron is not getting any younger, even if the season suspension gives him a chance to rest his body. Why many fail to realize is that the difficult part of getting older is recovering from play, so even with extended rest, the recovery might be impaired once you play any game. For LeBron, this means that he cannot simply carry teams to the Finals anymore. He needs help, and Damian Lillard can address this issue immediately.
Lillard gives LeBron the playmaker and ballhandler that he craves and allows James to be a prototypical small forward with his play. Right now, LeBron is a point guard as well as a forward, which can tire him out as the season goes by. Lillard gives the Lakers a superstar who can score 30 a night, control the tempo of the game, and find Anthony Davis for easy buckets all game long.
The Only Stat That Matters... Is Championships
It might only be a matter of time before Lillard asks for a trade. The Blazers are a mess, and they don't seem to have any plan to get back to the Western Conference Finals again. McCollum is an amazing scorer, and Nurkic is a beast when healthy. But the former isn't defensively capable and the latter might need time to even get back to his usual form. Not to mention, the entire team plays zero defense and doesn't have any resistance on that end.
Lillard is too great to be in this poor situation, and a top-10 player like him should be on a great team competing for titles. Even with Lillard's apparent loyalty, he should consider the Lakers as a potential spot for showcasing his true talents and competing for a ring.
LeBron is aging, and many have doubts about the future of the Lakers when he does retire. After all, the franchise traded away all of its young assets to acquire Anthony Davis with the hopes of short-circuiting the process to an NBA title. There is nothing wrong with this of course because as soon as you have LeBron James, you have a superstar who makes you instant title contenders. But it might come at the expense of the Lakers. As a result, they must go all-in right now.
If the Lakers don't win the title this season, assuming the season returns, Anthony Davis has the possibility to only play one more year for the Lakers. LeBron is getting closer to retirement as the months go by, and things won't look good for Los Angeles if they don't win at least one title. They might even fail to make the NBA Finals if they run into a deeper Clippers team or a Rockets team that has their number.
The Lakers need to go all-in right now. By acquiring Damian Lillard, they have basically guaranteed themselves an NBA title for which they can hold onto as they begin to rebuild for the future.