The 2019 Lakers had a ton of promise since LeBron James broke headlines by joining the Lakers in free agency. James had made 8 straight Finals with the Heat and Cavaliers, opting to play for the Lakers rather than returning to his hometown Cleveland. This was a strange decision by James who decided that joining a rebuilding team could help him meet his goals.
After 2 years, The King did meet his goal by winning a championship but it took a massive shift in the roster to bring in superstar Anthony Davis to get it done. Now, entering the 2021-2022 season, the 2019 Lakers are no more. Only LeBron James is the remaining piece from the entire roster, and a lot has changed in over 2 years. Here is where every player from the 2019 Lakers is right now.
LeBron James - Los Angeles Lakers
The King has already stamped his legacy on the Los Angeles Lakers, bringing a title to the Lakers for the first time since 2010. LeBron had a ton of help in the form of Anthony Davis, who played like the best big man in the game. The King is already regarded as one of the best Lakers ever, despite missing the playoffs once and getting bounced in the first round last season.
By winning at least one more NBA championship, which could be possible considering the Lakers have added Russell Westbrook, he could have a claim for being on the Mt. Rushmore of Lakers lore. That goes to show one thing: wherever LeBron goes, teams scramble to build a contender and that means everyone else is expendable.
Kyle Kuzma - Washington Wizards
After years of being involved in trade rumors, Kyle Kuzma was finally traded out of Los Angles. In the deal to acquire Anthony Davis, Kuzma was made untouchable because he averaged 18.7 PPG as showing no fear by playing alongside one of the all-time greats. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Kuzma averaged below 13 PPG over the next 2 seasons and was becoming the most likely trade piece.
Kuzma was finally traded in the package that brought 9-time All-Star Russell Westbrook to Los Angeles this offseason. The 6’10” power forward is only 26 years old and has plenty of time to rediscover his best form, but it will have to be with the Washington Wizards next season.
Brandon Ingram - New Orleans Pelicans
Brandon Ingram was the hottest trade piece when the Lakers were looking for a star to pair with LeBron James, and he is now one of the cornerstones for the Pelicans franchise. Ingram has already made an All-Star Team by the age of 23 and has the potential to be a bonafide superstar in the league.
For the Lakers, trading him was worth the championship Anthony Davis brought to Los Angeles in 2020. Ingram needs at least a few more years to become the All-NBA player that Davis has been, and he might never get there. But one thing is for sure, out of all the Lakers players excluding LeBron James in 2019, Ingram was the most talented one.
Lonzo Ball - Chicago Bulls
Lonzo Ball is one of the most polarizing players to come out of the NBA Draft. Lonzo was drafted No. 2 in the 207 NBA Draft and had the eyes of the NBA world with Hall of Famer Magic Johnson involved in draft decisions. Ball was never compared on equal footing to Magic, but he was expected to at least become an All-Star player for Los Angeles.
But that never happened, and Ball was put on the chopping block in the Anthony Davis trade. Lonzo lasted 2 seasons with the Pelicans, averaging 13.1 PPG and 6.4 APG, but he still disappointed by not reaching his potential. Lonzo is now a member of the Chicago Bulls after agreeing to an $85 million contract and has a chance to finally focus on his game to become a star.
JaVale McGee - Phoenix Suns
Despite his reputation earlier on, JaVale McGee has completely turned around his career. The athletic 7’0” center went from being a “Shaqtin’ A Fool” regular to a 3-time NBA champion as a member of the Warriors and Lakers. More specifically, McGee was part of the Lakers team that won the title in 2020.
McGee averaged 12.0 PPG and 7.5 RPG in 2019 and followed that up with averages of 6.6 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 2020. Thanks to McGee’s length and presence inside the paint, Los Angeles had the advantage of size on both ends of the floor en route to a deep playoff run.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - Washington Wizards
Caldwell-Pope had been one of the longest-tenured Lakers since joining the team in 2018. In 4 seasons in Los Angeles, the shooting guard averaged 11.1 PPG on 37.8% shooting from three while playing excellent on-ball defense.
As the starting shooting guard for the Lakers, Caldwell-Pope’s two-way play was critical for the team’s title run in 2020. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was traded this offseason as part of the package for Russell Westbrook, and he now has to fight for his place behind Bradley Beal in the Wizards depth chart.
Reggie Bullock - Dallas Mavericks
Reggie Bullock only played 1 season for the Lakers, averaging 9.3 PPG on 34.3% shooting from three. It was clear that Bullock was not the long-term answer for the Lakers, because he was not adept at playing lockdown defense or even hitting the three consistently alongside LeBron James.
Bullock had found a new home with the Knicks over the last 2 seasons and was a vital part of the playoff Knicks as he played 30.0 MPG. The Mavericks signed Bullock this offseason in the hopes that the shooting guard can continue shooting the three at the 41.0% clip he showed last year.
Rajon Rondo - Memphis Grizzlies
Rajon Rondo was arguably the 3rd most important player for the Lakers’ title run in 2020 because his on-ball defense and leadership were invaluable in the playoffs. Rondo did not have eye-popping stats during the regular season, but he turned it on in the 2020 postseason by averaging 8.9 PPG and 6.6 APG.
Rondo lasted 2 full seasons with the Lakers, but eventually signed a bigger contract with the Hawks and getting traded to the Clippers last year. Rondo was moved yet again this offseason to the Memphis Grizzlies although he could be on the move again before the start of the season.
Alex Caruso - Chicago Bulls
Alex Caruso has been a social media legend for the Lakers, playing all 4 of his seasons in Los Angeles. Caruso has career averages of 5.9 PPG and 2.4 APG, but his impact came via his on-ball defense and hustle on the court on both ends.
“White Mamba 2.0” is no longer a Laker, because he agreed to nearly a $37 million contract with the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are on the right track by bringing in DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, and Caruso fits perfectly on the roster because of his defense and willingness to get better on both ends.
Ivica Zubac - Los Angeles Clippers
Ivica Zubac was surprisingly traded to the Clippers because the Bosnian center had a lot of upside due to his size and ability in the post. Averaging 6.4 PPG and 3.9 RPG for the Lakers in 2.5 seasons, Zubac was supposed to be a long-term piece for the Lakers.
But LeBron James was in town, and the Lakers could not dwell on waiting for young players to come into their own. Zubac has been a member of the Clippers over the last 2.5 seasons, averaging 8.8 PPG and 7.4 RPG as the full-time center for the team.
Josh Hart - New Orleans Pelicans
Josh Hart was a solid role player for the Lakers in 2019, averaging 7.8 PPG and 3.7 RPG. Losing Josh Hart in the Anthony Davis trade was a difficult one to swallow, but the two-way wing player only flourished this season with the Pelicans by averaging 9.2 PPG and 8.0 RPG.
Hart is a great rebounder for his position, plays hard on defense, and has a solid jump shot. That is why the Pelicans re-signed him to a $38 million contract because the forward is only 26 with a chance to become a starter if he continues to improve his offensive game.
Lance Stephenson - Free Agent
Lance Stephenson was one of the most famous LeBron James irritants when he was on the Pacers, but they let bygones be bygones when he joined the Lakers in 2019. Stephenson only played 1 season for Los Angeles, averaging 7.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG.
That season also happened to be the last time Lance was in the league because he is now asking for try-outs for NBA teams. “Born Ready” could be back in the league soon because teams have an interest in a veteran two-way player who plays hard every night.
Michael Beasley - Free Agent
Michael Beasley was regarded as one of the greatest freshman players in the 2000s because he used a mix of size and athleticism to score the ball at an effective rate. Beasley jumped around teams a few times, but he was a member of the Lakers in 2019.
Beasley averaged 7.0 PPG and 2.3 RPG for the Lakers that year, and like Lance Stephenson, he is currently engaging in try-outs with NBA teams. The 6’9” forward is only 32 years old and has a few more years to be valuable in the NBA, so it is expected that we will see the former No. 2 overall pick in the league again.