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The Lakers are having a bad season with a boatload of (unacceptable) lackluster performances. The team is now 27-34 and 0-3 coming out of the All-Star break. With every agonizing loss, the questions about how to stop the bleeding will increase.
With a current ninth place seeding and probable trip to the play-in tournament, the Lakers are scrambling for ways to change their play this season. For the team to just flip a switch and play totally different heading down the stretch seems unlikely.
This Lakers team and their play might not be an isolated situation either. Getting the upgrades Los Angeles needs to improve might be hard to come by in the off-season. Lakers fans could be watching the same situation unfold next year or even worse.
The Head man
Frank Vogel has had a tough job maneuvering through injuries and roster changes this season. His failure to pinning down a solidified line up might be out of his control overall. His failure to make in game adjustments are a glaring problem.
He hasn’t figured out a way to utilize Russell Westbrook in his offense and he hasn’t gotten any kind of defensive effort (outside of a couple players).
Would the Lakers make a change at seasons end if it continues? Is there a coach that could do a better job of directing this kind of roster? There might not be a guy to steer this ship in the right direction but a change at the top could provide bad difference in the results.
The drop in Anthony Davis’s trade value
Davis has played in 37 of the Lakers 61 games, averaging 23.1 points and 9.7 rebounds. With the Chicago native being out of action, suffering from a mid-foot sprain, Davis injury history is becoming increasingly richer by the season.
A player under the age of 30 with Davis’s ability and accolades should be a sought out commodity in any trade scenarios. The aforementioned injury history combined with his contract that runs through at least the 2023-24 season might make it very difficult to move Davis.
With all that said, Davis might be the best trade asset the Lakers pose. If they can find a good deal, they should consider moving Davis before his injury situation worsens.
Who wants Russ
Russell Westbrook’s failure to assimilate into the Lakers game plan is not all his fault, but it’s still an obvious problem. He isn’t great at spacing the floor with long range shooting and he’s not able to attack the rim as much as he wants to.
He has a player option for $47 million next season and he’s definitely going to opt in for that amount. Having an expiring contract would make Westbrook a bit more attractive in a trade scenario, but how many teams are willing to bring him in for playing purposes?
The fight with father time
2022-23 will be season number 20 for LeBron James. He will turn 38 and he will also be playing in the last year of his deal ($44.4 million). It’s hard to imagine James doing better than his 28.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists he’s averaging this season. Chances are he will have declining numbers and/or a growing amount of injury concerns next season.
James has a no-trade clause and trading him seems far fetched. The Lakers would be more inclined to trade other assets to add to LeBron in his last season.
The Lakers would have to get real creative in any type of scenario where they’re trying to acquire talent. They don’t have control of their own first-round draft picks until 2026 and most of their other players are on short term deals.
Lakers fans have to be prepared for the possibility that his dreadful season could turn into two dreadful seasons, or more.