THE Los Angeles Lakers are in everybody’s mouth as of late, as the purple and gold club look to try and bounce back after a lackluster season. That means they might have to make some bold moves in the process. Magic Johnson has already left his post as the organization’s president, and Luke Walton was let go as the team’s head coach. It certainly looks like a rebuilding phase for the Lakeshow. The keyword here is “rebuilding.” We’ll get back to that in a sec.
The growing pains of the last year may be acceptable to a degree, but how it was lost remains troubling. While many may isolate LeBron's Christmas Day groin injury as the starting point of their downfall, the trade speculation involving one Anthony Davis stands as the bigger reason for the team's disappointing run.
It’s only necessary at this point that the Lakers face head-on the difficulties of marquee free-agency pursuits, acknowledge the limitations of their young core, and maybe even pull the trigger on a trade centered around LeBron.
Instead of bending to James' will and getting players just to make LBJ happy, the Lakers could just rid themselves of the toxic environment, and focus on developing (and rebuilding) a promising young core similar to what the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, and even the Atlanta Hawks have. This move would grant them financial flexibility and a gold mine of assets to grow and develop together under the new management’s watchful eye.
The “only” things stopping them from a total (and more fruitful) rebuild is getting rid of the best player in the world, and giving up on their desire to land Anthony Davis. Now, the question is: do they have the courage to shock the world?
According to Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report, one trade can finally pair ‘Bron with The Brow, but it’s not going to be in La La Land. Instead, it may take place with their biggest rivals, the Boston Celtics. But, of course, the New Orleans Pelicans, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers, will get their money’s worth, too.
Here are the details of the possible (but maybe improbable) trade:
New Orleans Pelicans Receive:
- Marcus Smart
- Jayson Tatum
- Robert Williams III
- Sacramento Kings’ 2019 first-round pick (from Boston)
- Los Angeles Clippers’ 2019 first-round pick (from Boston)
- Boston Celtics’ 2022 first-round pick
Los Angeles Lakers Receive:
- Jaylen Brown
- Al Horford
- Memphis Grizzlies’ 2019 first-round pick (from Boston, top-six protected)
- Boston Celtics’ 2019 first-round pick
Boston Celtics Receive:
- Anthony Davis
- LeBron James
If this trade does take place, the Pelicans would have a young core of players who have learned how to succeed in their time with Boston and have playoff experience. Also, with Smart and Tatum coming in as more-than-capable perimeter defenders, they will create a rather dynamic defensive backcourt in New Orleans, alongside Jrue Holliday. Plus, the assets they would get with the 2019 first picks would boost the Pelicans’ ranks for next season and the ones to come.
For the Lakers? Well, they can take on Al Horford's final season while also acquiring Jaylen Brown and a pair of first-rounders for their efforts in the process. In this scenario, they would land the top-six-protected Memphis pick and Boston's own 2019 selection as well.
As for the Celtics, they would be silencing Kyrie’s issues with the young blood of the team while establishing a big four (Irving, Hayward, James, Davis) to further their reputation as the biggest powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. They will be able to maintain some players in their core like Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris, and re-sign them in the future as the salary cap would increase in the coming years.
The only question now is if the Lakers have the courage to pull this off and get rid of LeBron James, or will they try to rebuild their unstable young core some other way. What do you, guys, think?