The trade rumors surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers continue to lean toward the negative. Without much to offer after mortgaging the future to acquire Russell Westbrook, LA’s lack of assets, by all accounts, appears to preclude any season-altering deal.
Could that possibly be an opening for LA to swoop in and change the future of its 2021-22 season?
LA’s season didn’t start well and hasn’t gotten any better
The Lakers got off to a 5-5 start after their first 10 games. The panic button remained far from LA’s reach, though, as it was early, and the trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Westbrook would surely find a way to push for a championship.
It’s ironic that the team started the season .500 over the first 10 games. Because, as of Jan. 26, the Lakers are 24-24 (still .500 if anyone needs help with the math).
James and Co. are currently eighth in the Western Conference standings, sitting solidly in position for a spot in the play-in tournament.
There’s room for LA to move up in the standings … but there’s also room for the team to drop even further.
Davis returned to the lineup on Jan. 25 after a long injury-related layoff. He finished the night with eight points, two rebounds, and two assists in 25 minutes. However, it happened to come in a win over the short-handed Brooklyn Nets.
Still, even with AD’s return, it doesn’t appear LA is on the road to a championship this season. That’s necessitated general manager Rob Pelinka and LBJ to find a trade to bolster the Lakers’ roster.
So far, they haven’t been able to find one. But a recent report suggests a significant deal could possibly, if not probably, be in LA’s grasp.
A slim chance for a trade to acquire Jerami Grant has opened for the Lakers
Grant has been assumedly one of this season’s best available players heading toward the Feb. 10 deadline.
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, Detroit is looking for a package of two first-round picks or a first-round pick plus a high-upside young player in return for the 27-year-old forward.
Not an exorbitant asking price, but certainly not a light one either.
However, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, offers are not “pouring in right now” for Grant.
Even if it’s a slim one, this at least opens up the possibility of LA making a competitive offer to the Pistons.
The Lakers have a young prospect in Talen Horton-Tucker they’ve been dangling in trade offers. Those offers also include Kendrick Nunn and the team’s 2027 first-round pick.
Adding Malik Monk into the deal also works, according to the Fanspo Trade Machine.
Is that an offer that would blow Detroit out of the water? No. But if, as Edwards claims, there aren’t a lot of other teams throwing no-brainer deals at the Pistons, maybe there’s a chance a trade like that could be acceptable.
The Lakers’ season would flip immediately with a deal for Grant
Caveat No. 1: LA’s offer to Detroit may not be better than another team’s offer the closer we get to the Feb. 10 deadline.
Caveat No. 2: If the Pistons don’t find a deal to their liking, they could always hold onto the Syracuse product and look for better trades during the summer.
But, logically, it makes sense to send Grant packing now to open up more opportunities for franchise cornerstone Cade Cunningham. It’s time to hand over the keys to the Motor City’s new point guard.
The Lakers’ offer may not be the best Detroit ends up receiving. But there’s a slim possibility the Pistons decide they need to get rid of Grant to accelerate Cade’s development, and LA’s offer could end up being their best chance to do it.
Is it unlikely? Maybe. But as the always-positive Lloyd Christmas said, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance.” There’s always a chance.
All statistics courtesy of NBA.com.