Lakers Trade Rumors: A Humiliating Loss to the Depleted Trail Blazers Could Finally Force LA Into a Desperate Move

The Los Angeles Lakers are a team in need. That’s the understatement of the NBA season, but LeBron James and Co. are desperate to find help — any help at all — as trade rumors continue to swirl.

An embarrassing loss to the short-handed (putting it lightly) Portland Trail Blazers the night before the deadline could prove to be the last straw that forces LeBron and general manager Rob Pelinka to their desperation breaking point.

Maybe now the needle will move from the “help” gauge to that “any help at all” gauge.

LeBron and LA humiliated themselves in a loss to Portland

An embarrassing loss to Portland could finally make the LA Lakers desperate enough to cash in on rumors at the NBA trade deadline.
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a game against the Miami Heat. | Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Lakers played the second game of a back-to-back on Feb. 9 in Portland. Without Russell Westbrook, LA’s starting five looked like this:

  • LeBron James
  • Avery Bradley
  • Malik Monk
  • Trevor Ariza
  • Anthony Davis

Certainly not an ideal lineup by any means. But the Trail Blazers went with this:

  • CJ Elleby
  • Anfernee Simons
  • Ben McLemore
  • Justise Winslow
  • Jusuf Nurkic

The Lakers had the two best players on the floor by a significant margin. LeBron scored a game-high 30 points, and Davis had 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and five blocks.

Talen Horton-Tucker added 14 points and seven assists off the bench, while Stanley Johnson finished with 11 points and six rebounds. LA hit 11 threes in the first half.

Elleby played a game-high 43 minutes — he’s averaging 13.8 this season. He scored eight points.

Winslow and Greg Brown Jr. were Portland’s third-leading scorers. They’re averaging 4.6 and 3.4 points, respectively, in 2021-22.

The Trail Blazers won the game 107-105.

LA turned the ball over 21 times, which led to 28 Portland points. Via ESPN, James said: “Every time we turned the ball over it was almost like pick-sixes. We didn’t get a tackle and they basically ran it in for a touchdown every time.”

Uninspiring words from the team’s leader after an uninspiring performance.

The loss could finally push the Lakers over the edge to cash in on trade rumors

LA has, to this point, been reluctant to move Horton-Tucker or their 2027 first-round pick. But with time running out to make a move and the team clinging to a spot in the play-in tournament, the Lakers might finally be desperate enough to include anything in a trade if it helps LeBron.

Maybe the mortifying way in which the team lost in Portland will be the catalyst to finally empty the entire roster cupboard.

Heading into the final hours of the Feb. 10 deadline, the team sits at 26-30 and ninth in the Western Conference standings. At least at the moment, it appears the Lakers are clear for, at the very least, that play-in spot. They’re three games ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans (who already bolstered their roster for a playoff push) and four in front of the rebuilding Blazers.

With a little roster tinkering, LBJ and his Band of Merry Men have a chance to vault past the Clippers into eighth but still remain 3.5 games behind seventh-place Minnesota.

LA is 10th in the league in scoring but middle-of-the-pack in rebounding and 27th in points allowed. The roster could use an infusion of size and defense, but the Lake Show is also 19th in the NBA in three-point shooting. A three-and-D wing seems like their biggest need, but the Lakers could also use another center to join Davis (and James).

Dwight Howard is averaging 14.5 minutes per game as the only legitimate 5 in the rotation. That won’t cut it for LA’s lofty goals.

Tossing in THT and that future pick may have to happen.

At this point, any move at all would be helpful

Frontcourt help and shooting are the team’s two biggest needs, but at this stage, landing the best player they possibly can would be of help to the Lakers, regardless of position.

The rumored Westbrook-for-John Wall deal is always on the table, but how far does that move the needle, and is that trade worth the 2027 first?

“Obviously it’s something that’s weighing on this group that we’re trying to all get through,” James said of the deadline via ESPN. “It almost feels like fog in the air and we’re all trying to see what’s on the other side of it.”

LeBron and Pelinka need to use their x-ray vision and find out the possibilities of what could be on the other side of that fog because the team needs help, desperately. Any form of help.

All statistics courtesy of NBA.com.

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