For all intents and purposes, the 2016-17 NBA season for the Los Angeles Lakers is all but over when it comes to making the playoffs. That said, a potential Lakers trade could happen if they decide to part ways with a younger player or two, but that wouldn’t be what is best for the future of the Lakers.
The future of the Lakers and their current rebuild of a championship franchise is the most important aspect of any of the potential trades proposed to or by the Lakers, but would it be worth it to make any franchise-changing decisions right now, or just play out the season to see exactly what the Lakers have on the roster once the offseason arrives?
Two Lakers who shouldn’t be on the trade block or be involved in any type of Lakers trades are Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell, as they should be a huge part of the future of the Lakers. Russell has missed time on the court in the past month and is still the second-best scoring-per-game average leader with 14.5 points per game in 38 games. Ingram averages 8.2 ppg and 4.1 rebounds per game in 54 games played.
Magic Johnson is now working with the Lakers and has stated in the past that he will be a mentor to D'Angelo Russell ???? pic.twitter.com/DvjQx03SYs— ㅤㅤ (@ShowtimeEra) February 2, 2017
The reason why the Lakers shouldn’t trade either Ingram or Russell is there is just so much potential as they have a combined age of 39 years old with Ingram at 19 years old and Russell at 20 years old. There is so much improvement coming from both of these players, and the Lakers know this, as Ingram is now in the starting lineup over Luol Deng. In his first start over Deng, Ingram played well in a Lakers 121-107 win at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.
Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times wrote this about Ingram’s start over Deng and the future of the Lakers:
“Ingram, the 19-year-old rookie, played 32 minutes and scored 14 points with seven rebounds and two assists… Before pulling the trigger on the change, Walton had conversations with Jim Buss, the Lakers’ executive vice president of basketball operation, and General Manager Mitch Kupchak.”
Instead of the potential Lakers trades being at the forefront of the team, seeing what they have in Ingram and others is even more important than looking elsewhere for additions to their franchise, unless those Lakers trades involved shipping out Deng or Timofey Mozgov, in which case the Lakers should listen to those trade proposals.
Again, by having an 18-36 overall record, five wins fewer than the eighth-place Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference, the Lakers just need to put wins and losses behind them this season and cut ties via trades with veterans who have recently been benched.
Another player who should stay on the roster for his experience was also placed in the Lakers starting lineup during their win over the Knicks in Nick Young. The Lakers veteran, who is also in the 3-point contest, is good for the Lakers franchise. Young has been mentioned in some possible trades lately, but he needs to stay with the Lakers into next season and see just where he can help take the franchise.
Even in not wanting to trade young players on the roster at this moment in the season, the offseason could be a different narrative, and by then, the Lakers should have a clearer view of their entire roster once the offseason arrives.
What the Lakers are doing right now in reshaping their starting lineup with younger players is best for the future of the franchise. Getting players ample time on the court together right now will help in their progression at the NBA level, plus help with the overall success of future seasons, which should be the focal point of the franchise for the foreseeable future.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]