Sometimes, all it takes is time. Time has been a friend for the Lakers this season, as injuries and poor decision making in the past is starting to catch up to them. Mostly, time is an enemy because it has exposed just how ugly the Lakers really are.
To start the season, optimism was through the roof because most of us still had faith in the young talent L.A. has assembled the past few years. The team didn't have an established veteran star outside of LeBron James, but they hoped that one would arise from someone already on the roster.
With half the season in the rearview mirror, however, they find themselves nowhere closer to where they were just six months ago. Now, to make matters worse, their trade options for Ingram and Lonzo have dwindled as a result of their underwhelming performances, meaning the talent they could receive in return (in any potential trade involving them) is much less than it was before.
“The aggregate value of their assets was much higher six months ago than it is today,” one Western Conference executive told the Los Angeles Times. “And, for all of them, with the exception of Kyle Kuzma, that value is worse.”
There's no easy solution for the Lakers. Trading them right now might not get the return they were hoping for and would be even worse if one of them turned into a star after they were traded. Then again, every game they play (and lose), their value on the trade market sinks, and the team risks missing out on the Playoffs entirely.
Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka and the rest of the team have a lot to figure out in these next couple of weeks. They'll have to figure out which risk they want to take as the trade deadline approaches.
Though, unless somebody else steps up for them, there might not be much else they can do.