NBA trade rumors and the Los Angeles Lakers go together like peanut butter and jelly at the moment, because rebuilding a roster will do that to a franchise. The Lakers are in the midst of a rebuild that can go a number of varying directions, but a lot depends on if they are looking to add to their roster in the coming months.
The Lakers are 16-31 overall record (last season they totaled 17 wins in 82 games) and 13th in the Western Conference. In the grand scheme of this rebuild, the Lakers are headed in the correct direction and playing better than they were a season ago. In the Western Conference, the Lakers are 8-20 and in their past 10 games they have won four times, but all rebuilds have to have growing pains before they really gain momentum, right?
This NBA season is better to watch compared to recent seasons for the Lakers and is improved under first-year head coach Luke Walton. Though, there is still more work to do as the Lakers have a young talented roster who are still learning to play at the NBA level, qualifying for the playoffs seems like a long distance to travel this year, especially with all the NBA trade rumors swirling around the Lakers.
The Lakers can use this season to get a really detailed look at their young roster, seeing who can work within Walton’s system and who can’t. That seems like the most important issue at hand with for Lakers. The remainder of this NBA season is also a good time to see exactly who the Lakers believe can really become a strong focal point on this roster to see if they already have their next superstar or team leader.
OFFICIAL: D'Angelo Russell Injury Update https://t.co/M9NGK36dFm
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 22, 2017
Through the first 37 games of the Lakers season, Louis Williams leads the Lakers with 18.0 points per game. It is tough to say that the 30-year-old is the future face of the franchise in this rebuild, but he’s also valuable to the franchise. D’Angelo Russell, who is currently injured and will miss the next one to two weeks, follows with 14.3 ppg in 26.3 minutes per game, and Jordan Clarkson off the bench averages 14.0 ppg.
Those are the three Lakers leading the way in the scoring column this NBA season, and to be honest, to eventually compete with the likes of the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets for Western Conference supremacy, that won’t cut it.
The Lakers’ ultimate goal isn’t to just get back to the playoffs, but to eventually add to their NBA championship collection. The Lakers are still at least one player away, and right now they’ll need to either make a trade of some sort or most likely wait until the offseason to see what type of deal they can work out via trade or free agency.
Could one of those potential free agents be Paul Millsap, currently with the Atlanta Hawks?
In looking at Millsap’s contract situation, Gavin Axelrod of Fadeaway World took a closer look at what might happen with the Hawks star player during NBA free agency.
“If Millsap does opt in to the final year of his three-year deal, he will make about $21 million dollars but he will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2017-18 season.”
Though the Lakers do have a player like Julius Randle at power forward currently on the roster, the potential of possibly adding a player with the skills of Millsap is tough to not take a peek at. Adding Millsap most likely won’t happen this NBA season, though the Lakers roster would improve greatly if it were to occur either before the trade deadline or the offseason.
NBA trade rumors for the Lakers and all teams are about finding ways to make the roster better for the future. The Lakers have done a nice job of adding young talent through the NBA Draft in recent years, but they are still missing one or two players who could really put them at the next level and back into playoff contention.
The Lakers are on the verge of missing the NBA Playoffs for a fourth straight season, and if they don’t eventually add a star veteran player, then the rebuild will be all for naught or take longer than fans want it to. For the Lakers to become true contenders again, either one of the NBA trade rumors will have to become a reality, or they will have to make some sort of splash in the free agent market this offseason.
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]