The Los Angeles Lakers entered the NBA season with high hopes and expectations, but they don’t look like the same team that made it to the Western Conference Finals just a handful of months ago. Granted that they haven’t been healthy, yet still, they’ve failed to mesh on the court.
LeBron James has put up his usual numbers, albeit most of them have come with the game already out of reach or in the fourth quarter. As for Anthony Davis, he’s been great for the most part, with the occasional MIA game.
But with Austin Reaves struggling to take a leap, D’Angelo Russell’s offensive inconsistency, and the rest of the supporting cast failing to rise to the occasion, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Rob Pelinka making some moves before the trade deadline.
LeBron has already spoken: A lot has to change. And if history has taught us something, it’s that once LeBron talks, his GM listens, and he’s not going to sleep on his laurels. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the three most likely trade candidates for the Purple & Gold.
3 Potential Targets For The Lakers
3. Bojan Bogdanovic
Bojan Bogdanovic has missed plenty of time with a calf injury, but he’s one of the best three-point shooters in the game, and the Lakers could use someone like him, who has a big body and can play both forward spots while also being able to stretch the floor with his shooting.
The Detroit Pistons refused to trade him last season when his trade value was at an all-time high, so perhaps they could take the same approach now. However, they’re free-falling, and he could grant them another first-round pick.
Also, matching Bogdanovic’s salary shouldn’t be too complicated for the Lakers. They could part ways with some of their young players to entice the Pistons and get them to make the deal.
2. Alex Caruso
The Los Angeles Lakers have regretted letting Alex Caruso go from the very second he walked out their doors. That was perhaps the biggest mistake of the Pelinka administration.
Caruso is a championship-caliber role player. He’s not a star by any means, but he might as well be the best at what he does: Providing non-stop defensive energy off the bench, haunding rival players up and down the court, and hyping his teammates up.
The Chicago Bulls have one of the worst records in the league, and while Caruso could still be hurt by the Lakers’ reluctance to pay him and keep him, they could give him a chance to win another championship.
1. Zach LaVine
Zach LaVine has been tangled up in trade rumors for quite a while, and the Lakers are the most logical destination for so many reasons, such as his UCLA past and the fact that he’s also represented by Rich Paul, LeBron’s and Davis’ agent.
LaVine’s relationship with Bulls coach Billy Donovan has never been good, and with the Bulls sliding in the standings, his frustration has been more than evident. It’s now or never for them.
The tricky part will be accommodating LaVine’s massive contract in the Lakers’ books, not to mention the fact that other teams could make a better offer. Even so, he’s the other 25+ points-per-game scorer they so desperately crave right now.