The Los Angeles Lakers are all about making LeBron James happy now, but what trades could they make at the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline to make that so?
Since LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2018 NBA offseason, the talk has centered on who the next big piece the organization will add could be. In the offseason, the early rumblings focused on the likes of Kawhi Leonard (still in play in 2019 free agency) and Paul George, but those never materialized as far as the 2018-19 season is concerned.
Instead, the Lakers chose to surround James with a litany of veterans to go with the young players already in place in Los Angeles. Those vets, of course, included the likes of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and others. While James has been undeniably impressive when on the floor this season, though, it’s become clear that he needs more help in the City of Angels.
Subsequently, it stands to reason that the Lakers will be active at the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline in the interest of adding those pieces for the home stretch of the regular season. After all, the Lakers find themselves at the bottom of the playoff standings in the ultra-competitive Western Conference and need a boost.
Naturally, the big name that has been connected and discussed in regards to the Lakers and pairing another star with LeBron James is Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans. However, it seems highly unlikely that will happen, at least at the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline. If a deal is going to happen with Davis going to the Lakers to join James, it will likely transpire in the 2019 offseason. Then again — maybe that’s exactly what both sides want everyone to think before an atomic bomb level trade rocks the league.
That’s in the future, though, and this team has James and his readiness to compete right now. As such, there are moves that could be made right now to help both give the team more of an identity and to also complement LeBron and make him happy. Here, we look at five potential trades that Los Angeles could make at the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline.
There’s no question that the Lakers biggest deficiency as currently constructed is their 3-point shooting. Not only is that a necessary piece of a successful offense in the modern NBA, but it’s also proven to be one of the most sure-fire ways to put the proper pieces around James. With his ability to pass out of penetration, surrounding him with shooters is critical.
And yet, their current form is a far cry from that. The Lakers currently rank 27th in the NBA in 3-point shooting this season, making just 33.5 percent of their attempts as a team. Thus, they need to add a shooter around LeBron for the home stretch of the regular season if they want to maximize what this team can do, and a former Laker in Wayne Ellington could be their answer.
SG, Wayne Ellington
SG/SF, Lance Stephenson; 2020 Second-Round Pick
On the whole, Ellington has been having one of the worst seasons of his career, so much so that he’s been all but removed from the Miami Heat lineup. Even amidst his overall struggles, however, the North Carolina product has still hit on 36.5 percent of his 3-point attempts this season and he’s a career 38 percent shooter from deep. Thus, he fits the mold of a shooter the Lakers could add, and one they could potentially land without giving up much.
Because of his poor play and diminished value, the Lakers could potentially part with the odd-fitting Lance Stephenson and then throw in a sweetener of a second-round pick for the Heat’s benefit to add a shooter like Ellington. This isn’t a trade that’s going to rock the NBA landscape, but one that could help LeBron and Los Angeles in a playoff push.