It's not a secret that the Los Angeles Lakers are struggling to get things going this season, becoming one of the worst disappointments in the NBA this campaign. The Purple and Gold entered this term with high expectations after assembling a Big 3 with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, as well as adding veteran pieces to compete for a championship.
So far, they have been unable to live up to those expectations, and fans have started asking for changes either on the roster or the coaching staff. Frank Vogel was reportedly on the hot seat a couple of weeks ago, but he's unlikely to leave the team now.
Instead, the front office is focused on reshaping the roster to face the remainder of the season. Even though they won't ship Russell Westbrook away, the team's management still has some pieces to move if they want to land a new player. Talking on “The NBA Chats” podcast with host Alen Ramic, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report revealed the Lakers' plans ahead of the 2022 trade deadline.
They have been trying to move some players like Kendrick Nunn and Talen Horton-Tucker, but now some veterans could join this group and leave the Californians before next Thursday. Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, and Kent Bazemore could be on the move, too.
“Listen, the Lakers are obviously not a great spot right now. And they’re looking. They’re trying. From DeAndre Jordan, to Dwight Howard, to the Kent Bazemores of the world, to trying to see what this Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and first-round pick package can get (they’re trying).
“I don’t know specific other frameworks that have been thrown out there, but the way it’s been described to me is they’ve just been calling teams and saying ‘hey, Talen Horton-Tucker, a first and Kendrick Nunn: What can that get us?’ I think that’s really where they’re at right now. I don’t think they’re going to use that to move Russ. That’s seemed unlikely all along. They’re using that pick as a way to upgrade, not as a way to get off Russ’ salary.”
Fischer even named some teams that could benefit from getting a big man like Howard or Jordan, including the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors.
“You can move Kent Bazemore, but how much are you really getting back? You can move DeAndre Jordan, but what are you really getting back? Like, could they move DeAndre or Dwight to Charlotte, who needs another big man, or Toronto, who needs another big man, or Milwaukee, who is looking for another big man? Sure. But what are they really getting back from those teams on another minimum salary that’s gonna dramatically move the needle for the Lakers? I don’t really know.”
It seems like, to land a quality player, the Lakers will need to get rid of a big chunk of their roster. They won't include their 2027 first-rounder in any of these deals, but sending several minimum deals to a squad could do the trick for them.
They have been linked with Gary Trent Jr. of the Raptors in recent days, and one of these packages could unlock negotiations with the Canadian squad. Still, is highly unlikely the 2019 NBA champions will part ways with one of their most prominent players right now.
The Lakers still have options to improve their roster, but it remains to be seen what move they can pull off that will make them championship favorites again.