After acquiring LeBron James in free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers turned from a rebuilding team to a legitimate playoff contender in the deep Western Conference. However, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka made it clear that they are not done yet in upgrading their roster. Both executives revealed that they are still planning to add a second superstar to boost their chance of returning to the NBA Finals and winning an NBA championship title.
The Lakers purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019 where several NBA superstars including Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeAndre Jordan will become unrestricted free agents. Aside from the free agency market, the Lakers are also chasing big names on the trading block.
In any blockbuster deal involving the Lakers to superstars, Brandon Ingram emerged as the likely trade candidate in Los Angeles. Ingram is seen as one of the Lakers’ young core with the highest potential. If the Lakers are really serious about trading him, there are only two superstars who are worth sacrificing Ingram, according to Jason Reed of Fansided’s L.A. Sports Hub. These are Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Anthony Davis is currently topping the list of the Lakers’ potential trade targets. The speculations that he wants a move to Los Angeles heated up when he parted ways with his long-time agent Thad Foucher to sign with Klutch Sports, whose biggest client is Lakers superstar LeBron James. Pairing James with Davis will undeniably give the Lakers a real chance of dethroning the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors.
Davis will tremendously boost the Lakers’ performance on both ends of the floor, giving them a dominant big man who can also be a huge threat from the three-point range. In 19 games he played with2 the Pelicans this season, Davis is averaging 27.8 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.7 blocks, and 1.5 steals on 49.3 percent shooting from the field and 34.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, with the emergence of Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo in Los Angeles, most people will definitely question why the Lakers should trade Brandon Ingram for Damian Lillard. However, as Reed explained, Lillard is a different type of point guard than Ball and Rondo. In his eight years of dominating the Eastern Conference, James found success when playing alongside a point guard who is also a prolific scorer like Lillard.
“Lillard is an elite guard that can create his own shot and can lead to scoring without the help of LeBron James. LeBron thrives when having that safety net of a guard to play with and that is why he left Miami once father time started to catch up with Dwayne Wade and left Cleveland once Kyrie Irving got traded to Boston.”
As of now, the Pelicans and the Trail Blazers haven’t shown any indication that they are planning to trade Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard during the 2018-19 NBA season. Expect more rumors to circulate before the February NBA trade deadline.