Having LeBron James on their roster, the Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2018-19 NBA season with the goal of ending their five-year playoff drought. Earlier this season, the Lakers managed to establish themselves as one of the top four NBA teams in the deep Western Conference. However, things have dramatically changed when the Lakers were hit by multiple injuries.
In the 14 games without their two leaders, LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers only won five and suffered embarrassing losses to rebuilding teams like the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Rondo has managed to return during the Lakers’ recent game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but his presence was not enough for the team to get a victory.
As of now, the Lakers are already out of the playoff picture, sitting in the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference with a 25-24 record. However, Rajon Rondo doesn’t seem to be worried that the Lakers will fail to reach the postseason this year.
“We’ve got LeBron,” Rondo answered when asked how the team feels over their chances of reaching the playoffs, via Lakers Nation. “I don’t know when’s the last time he missed the playoffs.”
It’s easy to understand why Rajon Rondo is very optimistic about the Lakers’ playoff chances. The Lakers currently have LeBron James, who has been to the NBA Playoffs for 13 consecutive years, and made eight straight appearances to the NBA Finals. Once LeBron James returns 100 percent healthy, he will surely do his best to bring the Lakers back to the playoff race.
Rajon Rondo said his hand felt "fine" in his return for the Lakers, and his teammates raved about his impact and how happy they were to have him back. https://t.co/UxSqUp1HZ5 pic.twitter.com/EWZLVJjl6q— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) January 25, 2019
Despite having LeBron James, the Lakers aren’t expected to sit back and relax before the February NBA trade deadlines. Bill Oram of The Athletic revealed that the Lakers are currently exploring two types of deals. First is a trade that will solidify the team’s roster and increase its chances of making the playoffs this season. And the second is a trade that lands a second superstar to team up with James.
Since the 2018 NBA offseason, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka have revealed their plan to add another superstar either via trade or free agency. As Oram noted, the Lakers are willing to part ways with the likes of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma if they could acquire a legitimate NBA superstar.
In the past months, All-Star center/power forward Anthony Davis has emerged as the top Lakers’ potential trade target, but the New Orleans Pelicans have already made it clear that they have no intention of moving their lone superstar before the February NBA trade deadline. The Lakers are also reportedly open to trading some of their expiring contracts, including Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson, and Michael Beasley.