The Los Angeles Lakers decision to make a trade before the NBA trade deadline might be much simpler than it seems. A team that has been involved in many NBA trade rumors since the offseason, should the Lakers stay where they are at with their roster or should they look elsewhere to make improvements in their current rebuilding of the franchise?
Some believe the Lakers are staying pat and not making any changes to their roster, no matter what the trade rumor wire says. Others believe for the Lakers to regain their championship mentality, and to once again return to the top of the Western Conference, changes need to be made before the trade deadline, allowing them to gain a head start on next season.
Earlier this week it was written in an ESPN Lakers trade article by Nick Ostiller that the Lakers have “fallen back to earth” after having a surprisingly solid start to the season. Now the Lakers are 15-29 overall, 13th in the Western Conference, and from the looks of things have a tall mountain to climb if they want to dream of making the playoffs this season.
Maybe it is best for the Lakers to settle back, relax, take a deep breath and see what first-year head coach Luke Walton can gain from his current roster of players, who have an average age of 27 years old.
After D'Angelo and Dame exchanged words in the 3rd quarter Tuesday, the Blazers closed the game on a 44-24 runhttps://t.co/BbuIMpsgbb
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 11, 2017
Take for instance D’Angelo Russell, who is in his second season with the Lakers. Russell has the potential to be a very good player in the NBA, but the Lakers 20-year old point guard still has a lot of learning to do. It might be easier for him and the Lakers if he wasn’t involved in so many possible trade rumors.
The best bet for Russell, who is averaging 14.9 points per game for the 2016-17 season after 31 games played, is to stay on the roster of the Lakers and see what happens while being coached up by Walton. Remember, Walton in his time as an assistant and interim head coach with the Golden State Warriors worked with some great NBA talent and had championship success.
This January, Russell has averaged 30 minutes per game and 15.9 ppg. Most of his individual averages though eight games this month are better than his overall season averages, which is a plus for the Lakers to see.
Others on the Lakers as well have been possible targets in trade talk, including Brandon Ingram, a rookie forward from Duke. Again, coming from a program like Duke, Ingram has to have some excellent basketball talent. For the Lakers, they will need the 19-year old forward not for so much this season, but for seasons to come. He’s averaging 8.1 ppg and 4.1 rebounds per game in 44 games played. The Lakers would be very smart to keep him and see what happens and not trade him as his career progresses.
The Lakers have a potentially excellent group of young players, but the question remains is that is what’s best for the franchise? Should the Lakers not make a trade and keep who they have or should they make the rumors true and trade for a veteran player who isn’t too old, and came become the face of the franchise?
Brandon Ingram just showed up to shoot/watch Zubac's postgame interview pic.twitter.com/FZsbF2eurd
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) January 15, 2017
Though it might be best for the Lakers to make a trade for a player like John Wall of the Washington Wizards or even better, trade for one of the big men from the Philadelphia 76ers like Nerlens Noel, it does make sense for the Lakers to stay where they are at and see what they have built thus far.
It isn’t a secret the Lakers, barring some sort of momentum shift, won’t be making playing in the playoffs. The Lakers not trading Russell or other young players right now is currently what is best for the overall health of the Lakers future since they are 14 games under 0.500. It might not be the most popular decision for this season, but with this current roster, it is about the future. The Lakers future should be excellent again as the rebuild continues, but it will take some more time.
[Featured Image by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images]