Pretty much everyone knows the Lakers are in quite the pickle right now. On one hand they are getting a vintage AD season where he looks like a top 5 guy on both ends of the floor while also staying healthy. Did you know AD's played in 24 of the Lakers 27 games this season? They're also getting your standard 27/8/6 from LeBron despite him being a billion years old. That's the good news.
The bad news is their team stinks. At 11-16 the Lakers now sit in the 12th spot in the West and trail GS by 2 full games just to get into 10th. That lead will probably shrink given that Steph is now going to miss a few weeks, but even still, things aren't great. Everyone knows they need to do something in order to salvage this season since they do not own their 1st round pick this summer. That thing is owed to the Pelicans as part of the AD trade, so even if they somehow win the Wembanyama sweepstakes, they really lose it, That's tough.
So what is Pob Pelinka aka LeBron going to do to turn this thing around? Moving Russell Westbrook to the bench has helped in terms of him not being a complete disaster of a player, but the wins aren't exactlty following. They need to make trades. You know it, I know it, the league knows it, everyone knows it. They have zero leverage and will most likely have to overpay for win now talent. That's just how things work in the NBA when the rest of the league knows you're desperate.
Now that December 15th has come and gone and the majority of players in the league can now be traded, The Athletic gave us a nice little update of what's happening in the Lakers front office in terms of what's real, who is being linked to LA, and who they are interested in.
I'm going to warn you, what you are about to read is VERY funny. Not in like a "ha ha that's hilarious" kind of way. More in a "oh my god how pathetic" kind of way
As The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported earlier this week, the Lakers have had discussions for Detroit’s Bojan Bogdanovic, as well as the Knicks’ Evan Fournier and Cam Reddish.
In addition, other names that have come up are DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Kuzma, Myles Turner, Buddy Hield, Kyrie Irving and Doug McDermott.
All of these players fit the bill as either wings, bigs or stars.
In the ultimate pie-in-the-sky scenario, the Lakers have interest in Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal if any of the three stars were to become available.
I'm sorry, but reading that made me spit out my coffee that I was actually drinking. 10 days ago I wrote this blog about how the Lakers big plan was to just trade for SGA because they figured the Thunder would tank. Only problem there is the fact that SGA is awesome and the Thunder are basically as good as the Lakers and have no reason to blow it up.
It's pretty clear that they are still in full on delusion mode, this time shifting focus to Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, and Bradley Beal.
Take a second to think about how insane that is.
For starters, the Blazers are a top 5 seed in the West and still are in earshot of a top 3 seed. The Nets, now 17-12 and the 4 spot out East are 8-2 over their last 10 and are starting to actually resemble the team many thought they could be. Now I will concede, The Wizards do stink and probably should just tank, but Beal makes $43M this season and has a full no trade clause. How exactly are the Lakers going to get to that price without including Westbrook, and why would the Wizards want to relive that experiment again?
Just look at the other names listed as well. Why exactly would the Bulls trade DeRozan or the Nets trade Kyrie? It's at the point where are we sure the Pacers are even going to blow things up and move their starting caliber players? They're in the mix for a top 6 seed as well!
What's funny is there's a good chance all of this headache could have been avoided if they just traded for Hield/Turner months ago and yet…
This is why franchises hire basketball departments. Now, if they want to end up with those guys it'll probably cost them both 2027 and 2029 picks. This would drive me insane as a Lakers fan but then I remember I don't really care about those people so instead it brings me a great amount of joy. I cannot get past the level of delusion it takes to assume that despite having zero attractive assets outside of a couple of future picks that the Lakers think that just because they're the Lakers somehow that means guys like Durant/Dame/Beal etc are an option. Please try and operate on planet earth for me one time.
My guess? They give up one of those 2027/2029 picks for Bogdanovic (DET should do this), and then probably trade some salary filler (maybe Pat Bev) who also makes $13M and they trade for Kyle Kuzma.
Will that matter? Probably not, but it can't get worse than what the Lakers are dealing with now. They got some injury luck with KAT going down (MIN is ahead of LAL by 1.5 games) and now Steph's out, so now is the time for them to actually get into the Play In. But maybe focus on actual attainable talent as opposed to hoping some of the best players in the league that are on much better teams than the Lakers will somehow become available or that they even have the assets to trade for them.
Or don't. That works for me too.