The Los Angeles Lakers have tumbled through the 2021-22 campaign with no end in sight. The continued shortcomings have led trade rumors to sprout before the Feb. 10 deadline. It’s cropped up the possibility the Lakers pursue a long-desired backcourt talent in Terrence Ross.
Lakers continue to stumble despite LeBron James’ brillance
The Lakers have performed nowhere near like a legitimate NBA title contender.
Los Angeles is stumbling beyond the campaign’s midway point, holding a 23-24 record through the first 47 games. Injuries and inconsistent play have resulted in the Lakers falling into potentially participating in the play-in playoff tournament.
It’s all come despite LeBron James’ ageless performance, ranking second in the league with 29.0 points per contest. The ongoing shortcomings have led to trade chatter ahead of next month’s deadline, as another potential target has emerged.
Lakers trade rumors: Orlando Magic wing Terrence Ross looks like a ‘Natural target’ at NBA trade deadline
It’s become no secret that the Lakers remain quite active behind the scenes in the trade market.
However, their activity hasn’t exactly led to encouraging developments. The pursuit of Jerami Grant has all but diminished due to the Detroit Pistons turning down their reported trade package of Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, and their 2027 first-round pick.
Outside of any effort to move Russell Westbrook, the Lakers are leaving no stone unturned as it could lead them down the path of acquiring Orlando Magic swingman Terrence Ross.
“I passed along this update via Twitter on Sunday night purely because Orlando’s Terrence Ross and Gary Harris are names to monitor whenever they pop up these days,’ New York Times‘ Marc Stein recently wrote on his substack. “The Magic are widely expected to trade one or both before the Feb. 10 trade deadline depending on the level of draft capital they can get in return.
“Some teams regard Ross as a natural target for the Lakers or the Jazz — both known to be seeking a defensive-minded wing player but possessing limited trade assets to make an impact trade in the next 17 days.”
The Lakers’ interest in Ross has been well-documented for several years. The 30-year-old is an athletic wing defender who can stretch the floor as a 36.4% career 3-point shooter. Ross is averaging 11.7 points but struggling with his shot hitting 40.6% from the field and 31.0% from 3-point range.
Ross is in the third year of his four-year, $54 million deal making $12.5 million this season and $11.5 million next year. Any feasible trade will likely require moving Horton-Tucker, who is making $9 million in the 2021-22 campaign, and Nunn’s $5 million salary.
The Lakers possesses the pieces to make a deal work, but it remains a possibility at best as the franchise still holds Horton-Tucker in high regard as a promising prospect.
Lakers may wait to see how Anthony Davis’ return impacts the team
The Lakers’ ongoing struggles are drawing growing concerns, but that comes with the caveat of Anthony Davis’ imminent return.
He has missed the last 17 games, where Los Angeles holds a 7-10 record, falling to the Western conference’s eighth seed. Davis’ absence has further underlined the Lakers’ defensive flaws, especially defending in the paint. Meanwhile, Westbrook has struggled to provide a consistent scoring punch alongside James.
The star big man’s return will certainly fill much of those gaps, but it won’t resolve every concerning issue. Davis is expected to play in Tuesday’s contest against the Brooklyn Nets but will need time to get his legs back under him after missing an extended stretch.
Any persistent issues after that point will lead general manager Rob Pelinka to make moves to strengthen their playoff push. Time will tell what unfolds ahead, but don’t expect the Lakers to have any shortage in their effort toward making a move.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.