The arrival of LeBron James has turned the Los Angeles Lakers from a rebuilding team to a legitimate playoff contender in the deep Western Conference. Though the Lakers failed to acquire a second superstar to pair with James, one NBA executive who spoke with Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report believes that the Purple and Gold aren’t going to be an easy out in the Western Conference Playoffs.
However, despite having the best basketball player on the planet, the Lakers’ road to the NBA Finals won’t be easy, unlike LeBron James’ previous stints with the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In order to have a real chance of beating the reigning NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, in a best-of-seven series, the Lakers need a tremendous improvement on their roster. In the past months, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka have been busy finding ways to address the issues on their roster.
The Lakers have been linked to several role players like Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, and Terrence Ross, but they made it clear to the entire league that they will only be trading one of their young core for a player of Anthony Davis’ caliber. However, with Davis unlikely to be available on the trade market during the 2018-19 NBA season, Pincus believes that the Lakers may also consider chasing other NBA superstars like Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards.
“L.A. does not appear willing to let any of the young core go (Josh Hart, Kuzma, Ingram, and Ball); at least that’s what several Lakers executives have indicated. That changes to some extent for Davis, but that may mean they won’t chase Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards or Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets. Either may be seasoned enough to win next to James, more so than a developing player like Ingram, but the Lakers might feel good enough about their chances in the West without sacrificing their shot at a superstar like Davis.”
The acquisition of either Kemba Walker or Bradley Beal will undeniably boost the Lakers’ performance, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Walker and Beal will give LeBron James the same help he got from Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving during his seven trips to the NBA Finals. Wall and Beal are yet to become officially available on the trading block, but their names are expected to surface in trade rumors as the February NBA trade deadline approaches.