With Lonzo Ball expected to miss the next four to six weeks due to a Grade 3 ankle sprain, as reported earlier this week by CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Lakers are now in need of additional help at the point guard position. This, according to a new report, could mean making a move before the NBA’s February trade deadline and trading for a third point guard to join Ball and his similarly injured backup, Rajon Rondo.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Lakers head coach Luke Walton discussed the situation at hand, admitting that team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are weighing their options and possibly looking forward to making some roster changes.
“I know Rob and Magic are working, looking for other options and possibilities,” Walton said, as quoted by USA Today‘s Lonzo Wire.
“What that is, I don’t know, and if we don’t do anything that’s fine too. We go out there with our guys that have been here working their tails off for us all year long.”
While Walton admitted that he isn’t sure what Johnson and Pelinka might have planned for the Lakers, Lonzo Wire speculated that he might have been referring to a roster move that would give Los Angeles a third point guard. The Lakers-centric USA Today blog noted that likely wouldn’t come in the form of a free agent signing, as there aren’t too many viable options currently available on the waiver wire. Furthermore, signing a free agent would require that the Lakers waive one of their players, which, per Silver Screen and Roll, isn’t something the team is interested in doing at this point.
Alternately, Lonzo Wire wrote that the Los Angeles Lakers could acquire a new reserve point guard via trade, but added that this might not be too practical if they surrender a “key rotation player” for someone who would get “little-to-no playing time” once Ball returns from his injury. Instead, the publication suggested waiting for a bigger trade opportunity that also involves a second player who could help the Lakers in the long term.
“For example, trading Lance Stephenson for [Orlando Magic point guard] D.J. Augustin wouldn’t make much sense for the Lakers, but trading for Terrence Ross and getting Augustin as part of that package might.”
As reported last month by the Sporting News, Magic guard/forward Ross was one of two wingmen whom the Lakers were targeting as an alternative acquisition to then-Phoenix Suns defensive stopper Trevor Ariza, who eventually ended up with the Washington Wizards.
Given the expectation that Rajon Rondo will return to action on Thursday, with LeBron James adding more playmaking once he recovers from the groin injury that has kept him out for close to a month, Lonzo Wire concluded that the Lakers might not even need a third-string point guard after all, though it’s still possible the team might acquire one in the coming weeks.