Going into year four of the LeBron James and Anthony Davis era, the Los Angeles Lakers entered the season with hardly any expectations. After a rough 2021-2022 campaign riddled with injuries as well as chemistry and depth issues, most expected the Lakers to come into this season as a playoff team at best. Although still early, it’s not looking great for the illustrious franchise as they’ve started 3-10. Despite a coaching upgrade in Darvin Ham, the lack of depth remains prevalent while the stars continue to age. It’s nearly come to a point where James and Davis simply look tired, as neither have given their best efforts on the hardwood.
A common debate around the NBA community is what it takes to get Los Angeles back on track before it’s too late. The most common answer is a Russell Westbrook deal. Most specifically, where the former league MVP takes his talents to Indiana in exchange for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield. Although picks would be shipped along to the Pacers as well, this deal is less realistic than most make it out to be.
Los Angeles could pick up Turner in this move, but the addition of Hield makes it a near reach. Turner has stressed his desire to be a Laker, but one could imagine Indiana would like to keep Hield alongside star guard Tyrese Haliburton. Unless a big deal is thrown their way, the Pacers will likely hold onto the sharpshooting wing, and a big deal is something Los Angeles cannot come up with.
Say this hypothetical trade becomes a reality with Turner going West to Los Angeles. How much better would the Lakers really be? The frontcourt defensively with Davis and Turner would be masterful, and a stretch big of his caliber makes a perfect compliment for King James. However, does this truly take them back to glory? Likely not.
The NBA is trending in an era where depth is more important than pure star-power en route to finding any remote success. We are in the post super-team era where it’s vital to have eight to nine bodies to throw on the floor at any given point, rather than a pure collection of stars. Seven of the last eight conference champions have followed this formula, and the NBA is back in an era where it’s built to win, not buy to win. The Lakers have no way of finding championship caliber depth, but there is one solution. As hard as it may be, it’s time the Lakers move on from the James-Davis era by trading the former New Orleans Pelican.
Davis has quietly put together a magnificent year thus far. He’s dropping 24 points per contest on 54% from the field while pulling down 11 rebounds and playing top notch defense. That’s impressive no matter how bad your team is, and he’s also managed to play 12 of the first 13 games. Minus the outside shooting, Davis has rallied this season with a bounce back year.
But again, the lack of depth on this team is apparent. James remains the best player on this team until further notice, especially with Davis’ lingering injury history. In order to give him one last shot at a championship while chasing the 18th banner, they’re at a point where they have to surround him with as much depth as possible. Trading Davis is the only way to do so.
As unrealistic as it is, that’s the way to go. Funny enough, the trade that makes most sense for both sides involves Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets.
Lakers & Nets swap Davis for Irving
Los Angeles Lakers Receive-
Kyrie Irving ($36,900,000/1YR)
Joe Harris ($18,600,000/2YRS)
Brooklyn Nets Receive-
Anthony Davis ($37,900,000/3YRS)
Patrick Beverley ($13,000,000/1YR)
In what might be the most outlandish deal of those that will be presented, Irving reunites with James while Davis forms a monster duo with Kevin Durant. Both the Nets and Lakers are the two laughing stocks of the league as they’re both star-driven teams failing to meet any expectations, and both are in need of a shakeup. Each team fills a void in this trade, with Los Angeles receiving more help on the perimeter, while Brooklyn gets an elite big man to plug the gaps in their defense.
The Lakers retain a level of star-power while getting one of the league’s best marksmen in Joe Harris, and with other minor deals, this can level them back up to title contenders. Irving’s relationship with the Nets continues to get damaged more and more by the day, which will likely lead to his departure in free agency. Getting one of the best bigs the league has to offer along with the feisty defense of Patrick Beverely helps them immensely on that end. Although preposterous, the idea of this deal makes sense for both parties.
Although it’s feasible for the Lakers to move on from their star big man, the likelihood of it happening remains low as long as James is in town. However, with the way the league is trending, it only makes sense to move on from him to improve the Lakers depth and offense.