Incredibly, this offseason is somehow more important than the last for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Coming on the heels of missing the 40-win mark despite the arrival of LeBron James and some head-scratching front-office turnover, the Lakers don't have much wiggle room—they need to make another big splash and contend or they will fade again.
It's easier said than done, of course. Outside of the LeBron move, the Lakers still haven't been able to consistently match the hype of expected major moves for the franchise in the ever-evolving NBA.
The latest rumors carry some heavyweight names like Anthony Davis, though for the Lakers, nothing seems a guarantee these days.
No Traction on Lonzo
The Phoenix Suns are another team consistently looking to make major deals lately, which isn't any surprise—trying to keep a star like Devin Booker in town will do that to a club.
According to ESPN's Jonathan Givony, the brass in Phoenix have made it clear the team would move the sixth overall pick this year for a veteran point.
Just don't expect that point to be Lonzo Ball.
Arizona Sports 98.7's John Gambadoro shot down the idea before it could gain some major traction:
Ball makes some sense on paper for the Suns, at least. He's just 21 years old and isn't ball dominant, which would presumably work to get Booker and Co. in good positions consistently. He has averaged 32.4 minutes, 10 points and 6.4 assists while shooting 38 percent from the floor over 99 games.
But the Lakers don't have any reason to throw in the towel on Ball just yet. Things could be better, sure. And there was the whole unauthorized surgery thing while he works his way back from an injury, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
But at this point, unless, the Lakers have a star coming in to take over the point, insiders are right to suggest Ball isn't in any discussions.
Marcus Morris Interest?
While the headline-making items pertain to big-name free agents and possible big trades, the Lakers won't succeed much at all if the depth isn't there.
Said depth might end up including Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris.
Charania pointed out the Lakers might have an interest: "Celtics free agent Marcus Morris will have strong interest as a second-tier free agent, with teams such as the Knicks, Kings, Lakers, Clippers and Bulls expected to be in pursuit, league sources said."
That indeed seems to be the sort of move a savvy contender would make after the initial wave of free agency. Morris is still just 29 years old and last year seemed to take another step in the right direction over an average of 27.9 minutes, averaging 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting a career-high 44.7 percent from the floor.
Of course, this would mean prying Morris away from Boston, where he'd be open to a return, per the writeup. But that could be simpler than expected if the money is right and the Celtics start losing key free agents.
Either way, even a reported interest in a solid second-tier move like this suggests some quality foresight when it comes to roster construction around James.
Anthony Davis Update
Davis still wants a trade, and New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin seems ready to make it happen now that it seems clear that he won't change his stance after another sit-down, according to Charania's writeup.
Call it somewhat good news for the Lakers, though there is a problem baked into this: The price isn't going to waver. The Pelicans are happy with the first overall pick and a solid core headed up by Jrue Holiday, which seems to put them in a better position than most teams set to lose a superstar.
It means the Lakers would still have to send the farm in a trade, including giving up core pieces to boost the Pelicans' rotation.
According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, who appeared on the The Sedano Show, one of the most intriguing pieces is Brandon Ingram (h/t CBS Sports' Brad Botkin): "I spoke to several people within the Pelicans' organization in the past several months that have a really high opinion of Brandon Ingram, and beyond just Brandon Ingram, have a really high opinion of the trade package that was on the table that was ultimately rejected."
It isn't too hard to see why: Ingram is 21 and averaged career-highs of 18.3 points and a 49.7 field-goal percentage last year, merely hinting at the upside he can still achieve.
Interestingly, the Lakers-Pelicans possibilities remain a great unknown either way. The Pelicans didn't seem too intent on doing a deal with the Lakers earlier, though that was before Griffin took over. Whether they are still open to a deal or will look to a team like Boston instead remains to be seen.
But if it is the Lakers, one can safely presume Ingram and an array of other assets, ranging from the fourth pick to pieces like Kyle Kuzma, will have to be on the table to get a deal done.