The Los Angeles Lakers fell well short of vying for a second straight NBA title after a first-round playoff exit. The Lakers’ front office will now head into a critical offseason to guide the franchise back into championship contention. With all that in mind, the team must avoid the outside push to trade Anthony Davis for Damian Lillard.
Lakers’ playoff shortcomings sets up pivotal offseason
The Lakers entered the 2020-21 campaign, eyeing a strong push toward capturing a second straight NBA title.
Despite a promising start to the season, the injury bug doomed the team’s chances after James and Davis suffered significant ailments. Each star player managed to return for the stretch run of the regular season but never fully recovered to regain their form before the injuries.
Los Angeles heads into the offseason with plenty of questions concerning the team around James and Davis. The front office is expected to make a concerted effort to reshape a championship-contending roster. With that in mind, there is one trade scenario gaining traction that the Lakers should avoid.
Lakers would be wise to ignore the ridiculous call to trade Anthony Davis for Damian Lillard
As the Lakers head into the offseason, the rumor mill churns around possible trade scenarios regarding acquiring Lillard.
The dialogue is all speculation at this point, but it’s clear Lakers fans are eyeing adding the seven-time All-Star to the backcourt ahead of the 2021-22 season. With that in mind, FS1′s Colin Cowherd voiced on his radio show this week that the Lakers should consider trading Davis for Lillard.
“This morning Lakers fans are saying ‘TRADE EVERYBODY!,” Cowherd said. “Actually, I’d consider trading AD, but like Joel Embiid, that market is shrinking. As a general manager, I would struggle to wanna inherit the next four years of AD’s contract. I don’t know what I’m getting. I’d take a lesser player who’s healthy.
“The ‘winning titles’ stage for LeBron and the Lakers is OVER. There’s not going to be a pandemic to give LeBron and AD a four-and-a-half-month hiatus. That was a once-in-a-lifetime strange break for a franchise, and for a brittle guy and an old guy… LeBron came to Los Angeles for 50% basketball and 50% business and he’s already talking ‘Space Jam.’”
Cowherd’s reasoning centers on Davis’ health struggles throughout his career, along with the offense remaining fluid with Lillard leading the charge when James is off the floor. In terms of talent, it’s a level playing field as both players demonstrated to be among the best players in the league.
However, it’s a move that doesn’t extend James’ timeline with his career but instead swaps one superstar out for another alongside him. Davis’ departure would leave a massive hole in the frontcourt on both ends of the floor. The 28-year-old anchors the Lakers’ defense, while he’s a matchup nightmare for other teams due to his unique offensive skillset.
It’s hard to ignore the benefits the Lakers would have with Lillard leading the backcourt, but if it requires trading Davis, the franchise is best served to avoid that route.
Several options will be available in the offseason
All that to say, it’s not suggesting the Lakers should avoid trying to acquire Lillard if the star point guard signals he wants a change of scenery.
If the scenario crops up, the Lakers will certainly explore every avenue outside of trading James or Davis to land one of the league’s best talents. Meanwhile, the front office will likely have other backcourt options available this upcoming offseason, such as Kyle Lowry or Spencer Dinwiddie.
Recent reports indicated the Lakers might revisit landing Lowry after failing to acquire him before this past season’s trade deadline. Los Angeles’ reported reluctance to include Talen Horton-Tucker in a trade offer prevented the blockbuster deal.
Meanwhile, Dinwiddie’s name recently cropped up due to reports suggesting he wants to play in his hometown of Los Angeles. The Lakers certainly fit the bill as a landing spot for the veteran point guard.
Beyond that, it further underlines that the Lakers don’t need to move Davis to add much-needed backcourt help next season.