Lakers Are Admitting to Their Roster Mistakes By Shopping DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore
The first few months of the 2021-22 campaign haven’t panned out how the Los Angeles Lakers expected. Instead, the Lakers are floating around the .500 mark with growing outside doubt the franchise can compete for the 2022 NBA title despite LeBron James‘ ageless play. These parameters have pushed the Lakers to admit to making roster mistakes with offseason additions DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore.
Lakers are struggling to find consistency despite LeBron James’ stellar play
After a busy offseason, the Lakers have experienced nothing short of a struggle to find consistency.
The roster has dealt with notable injuries and COVID-19 related issues that have hampered them from finding continuity. Those problems, coupled with the up-and-down performances, have pushed Los Angeles to the back end of the Western Conference playoff picture.
LeBron James’ stellar play has kept them afloat, especially as of late, winning four out of the last five contests. However, it’s put a temporary band-aid over the necessary roster adjustments needed to push them toward NBA title contention.
All those factors are guiding the Lakers to admit fault with two offseason additions.
Lakers are admitting to their roster mistakes by shopping DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore
The Lakers’ tough start has pushed them toward becoming active in the trade market.
Los Angeles already made one notable move by sending Rajon Rondo to the Cleveland Cavaliers to create a roster spot for Stanley Johnson. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Lakers are not done on that front as the team is willing to part ways with DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore.
“They already offloaded a player in Rondo to create a roster spot and they’re looking to do more of that,” Windhorst said. “From teams that I’ve talked to, they’re out there. With LeBron James starting at center and Anthony Davis back, they’re looking to move DeAndre Jordan; not necessarily for another player, but they can open up another roster spot. Kent Bazemore is another player they’ve been willing to talk about in talking to some other teams and I think, again, their goal is to open up a roster spot.”
“The Rondo move looks like it was going to be designed to be for Stanley Johnson to fill, but they may look in the buyout market for another player or two. They are trying to figure out how to do that.”
Both Bazemore and Jordan have fallen out of the rotation after each had their fair share of playing time in the first several weeks. Bazemore has played in 22 games, averaging 4.3 points and 2.0 rebounds on 33.7% shooting in 18.1 minutes per contest with 14 starts. He played in only five games in December and hasn’t seen the floor yet in January.
Meanwhile, Jordan has fallen entirely out of the rotation, as evident by LeBron James starting at center and playing heavy minutes at the position. He is averaging 4.5 points and 5.7 rebounds in 27 games with 18 starts. Jordan last played seven minutes on Dec. 23 against the San Antonio Spurs. His struggles defensively pushed him out of the mix.
Jordan and Bazemore have not lived up to their expectations, making them expendable pieces for the Lakers to address other roster needs. Bazemore and Jordan are signed at the veteran’s minimum, making a move for either an easier task.
It may only be a matter of time before both have new NBA homes before the trade deadline.
The Lakers will be busy in the buyout market
Although the Lakers are finding much success with LeBron James playing center, it’s not a lineup they don’t want to continue to deploy heavily.
Dwight Howard’s return is offloading some of that workload, while Anthony Davis will play a considerable part in that equation. Los Angeles will likely explore the buyout market to add another big man to lessen James’ responsibility. Players such as DeMarcus Cousins may be an option.
The Lakers have previously added talent through the buyout market, most recently exemplified by signing Andre Drummond last season. Expect much of the same as the trade deadline approaches.
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