Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors continue to link the team to All-Star players like DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat, and Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks. Recently, the team has even been linked to the Philadelphia 76ers, as that’s a team with an abundance of big men to deal. One look at the updated NBA standings might throw a lot of cold water on the situation for Lakers fans.
The Los Angeles Lakers are terrible. There is just no getting around that statement. The team has lost two straight, eight of its last 10 games, and is tied for the most losses (24) in the entire NBA. Fans holding out hope that the Lakers are going to somehow pull off a magical trade and make the 2017 NBA Playoffs might want to re-think their plans this April. The current Lakers roster has not only struggled to find consistency but has not shown an ability to play at a high level for a sustained length of time.
In the last game for the Lakers, which took place on December 29, the Lakers had an opportunity to beat up on a team with a worse record. The Dallas Mavericks arrived at Staples Center with a 9-24 record and a much worse string of games to start out the 2016-17 NBA season. This was a prime opportunity for the Lakers to put a game in the win column, but it turned into an ugly 101-89 loss instead. Toward the end of the second quarter, the Lakers held a 10-point lead, underscoring just how badly the second half went.
On Sunday night (Jan. 1), the Los Angeles Lakers will host the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center. The Raptors have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 22-10, ranking them among the best teams in the NBA. All analysts are predicting that this game could quickly turn into a blowout, despite a team from the East traveling to the Pacific Time Zone. Even with the game at home, the Lakers are projected to lose this game in an ugly fashion. Doing so might just give credence to rumors of a fire sale coming soon.
So far this season, the Lakers have averaged 103.9 points, while allowing opponents to score 110.1 per game. That ranks among the worst numbers in the NBA and shows just how badly the team has played on defense. It’s easy to state that the Lakers would be vastly improved if the team could acquire someone like Hassan Whiteside or even Nerlens Noel to play in the low post. But is either player good enough to take a terrible team all the way to the NBA Playoffs?
To make matters worse in these Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors, the team also doesn’t possess its own first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. That pick belongs to the Philadelphia 76ers as an extension of the trade to acquire point guard Steve Nash. The pick originally went to the Phoenix Suns, but now resides in possession of the 76ers after another series of deals. Playing terrible basketball and having no hope to add an elite college prospect (in a really deep draft) just makes the situation even less tenable in L.A.
The front office in Los Angeles made a series of mistakes in first acquiring Steve Nash and then letting Kobe Bryant finish out his career in what should have been a rebuilding year for the young roster. Now the 2016-17 NBA season is going to also be a wasted season for the franchise, with the only hope on the horizon stemming from fans and analysts. That hope certainly doesn’t come from the current roster, possibly hinting that soon Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors could revolve around collecting draft picks rather than developing rookies.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]