It seems likely that the Lakers will make an all-in transaction to help LeBron James

It seems likely that the Lakers will make an all-in transaction to help LeBron James

In their current configuration, the Los Angeles Lakers appear unworkable.

The team’s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks have long been rumored to be sacrificed in a significant trade to improve its talent and shooting, despite persistent rumors to the contrary.

The beginning of their season will undoubtedly accelerate calls for significant change.

With the proviso that they have only played two games, against the defending champion Golden State Warriors and the championship favorite Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers appear to be mired in mud.

Again, it’s only been two games, but the Lakers’ offensive rating of 94.9 would have ranked last in the NBA by 9 points last season. They are 19-for-85 (22.5%) from beyond the arc.

LeBron James has already been asked about the team’s personnel composition and shooting deficiencies.

James stated after his team’s opening night loss to the Warriors, “We’re not a team built around terrific shooting.” “In fact, this is the truth of the case. We’re not exactly sitting here with a large number of lasers.”

James compared the Lakers to a football team that does not throw downfield who might still win despite not having a top three-point shooting unit. However, Thursday’s match added to their troubles. The Lakers shot just 9-of-45 from outside the arc, wasting multiple opportunities that could have easily carried them to victory against the Clippers in a game they lost by only six points.

James attempted to end questions about the team’s roster after the game.

James stated, “I will not sit here and dwell on what we cannot achieve in every single game.” “That is not leadership. What I know we can accomplish? We can defend ourselves to the hilt. We accomplished this tonight, which gave us a chance to win, but we were unable to capitalize on it. But I’m fine with it.”

In response, Lakers rookie head coach Darvin Ham has already downplayed James’ assessment of the roster, stating that he has no problem with James’ remarks.

The Lakers once again remade their roster throughout the offseason, replacing several of last year’s veterans with younger, more athletic, defensive players. With James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook on their payroll, the Lakers were obviously constrained financially. As a result, they added a number of respectable role players, but none with the potential to propel them to the top. And in a league where shooters can fetch high salaries, the Lakers’ free agent shooters range from mediocre to below-average.

This is especially problematic for a team comprised of James, Davis, and Westbrook, three players who thrive in the paint and one of whom (Westbrook) is a historically poor three-point shooter.

A trade looks inevitable

Westbrook was the subject of trade speculations during the summer, and his shaky start to the current season has only bolstered the assumption that he won’t survive the year in Los Angeles.

Westbrook had a solid first game (19 points, 7-of-13 shooting, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists), but he ruined it by blaming Ham’s decision to start him in a preseason game for his hamstring issue.

Thursday, after a great first game, Westbrook missed all 11 of his field goal tries (though he did have five steals).

The Lakers and their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks (the only two picks they may trade) were rumored to be sent to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.

According to The Athletic, the Lakers and Pacers explored the transaction, but it never materialized. It is a hypothetical exchange that will likely stay a topic of discussion, as it makes sense for both parties: The Pacers are in the process of rebuilding, while Hield and Turner would provide the Lakers with much-needed scoring punch, perimeter shooting, and rim protection.

During training camp, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka informed reporters that these two draft picks were available.

“There has been much conjecture as to whether or not the Lakers will trade their draft picks. Will they not exchange their selections?” Pelinka said. “LeBron James, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, is a member of our team. He made a long-term commitment to us by signing a three-year contract. Consequently, we will do everything possible, including trading draft picks, to get the opportunity to help LeBron James reach the NBA Finals. He decided to join our organization. This requires a bilateral commitment, which is present.”

The Lakers’ future schedule becomes increasingly difficult. Six of their next nine games are against teams that are expected to make the playoffs: the Denver Nuggets (twice), Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Clippers. The offseason improvements of the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings make even games against those teams appear more difficult.

It is feasible for the Lakers to fall many games below.500, putting them in a hole from which it would be tough to recover.

Rarely does a team open the season with such widespread anticipation that they will make a significant deal at some time. A rough beginning may have strengthened the conviction that a trade is necessary.

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