With the Los Angeles Lakers on the outskirts of the NBA playoff picture at 25-24, team president Magic Johnson and Co. are reportedly preparing to make some personnel moves prior to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
According to The Athletic's Bill Oram, the Lakers are exploring two types of deals:
- A trade that will solidify the team's roster and increase its chances of making the playoffs this season
- A trade that lands a second superstar to team up with LeBron James
Oram added that Los Angeles is also in the market for a perimeter shooter on an expiring contract. The Lakers rank 29th in three-point shooting (33.4 percent).
Oram noted L.A. is open to trading the likes of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma if it means landing a co-star for James. The team is also reportedly interested in shedding expiring contracts (Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope).
The Lakers are looking to snap a five-year playoff drought, and it hasn't been the easiest of seasons in Hollywood.
Los Angeles was involved in an on-court brawl with the Houston Rockets near the beginning of the season that resulted in suspensions for Ingram and Rajon Rondo. Rondo then missed more than a month because of a broken hand, and the Lakers most recently endured a 14-game stretch without both James (groin) and Rondo (finger).
Ball, meanwhile, suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain last Saturday and is expected to miss four to six weeks.
Los Angeles sits 1.5 games back of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Getting James healthy and back on the court will have more of an impact on its playoff chances than any deadline deal. However, getting the four-time NBA MVP some additional help would be key for the Lakers' postseason prospects.
Given that James signed a four-year deal during the summer, Johnson can be patient when trying to make a deal. If other teams' asking prices are too high at the deadline, the organization could ride things out with its current group and look to make a big splash during the offseason.