The Los Angeles Lakers are 5-10 without LeBron James on the court. Their star player’s absence has showcased several of the team’s biggest problems. Chief among them is their lack of 3-point shooting.
The Lakers have the second-worst 3-point shooting percentage in the league right now and their shooting across the board has been a huge issue for the team all season.
As a result, the Lakers front office seems to be interested in getting some shooters at the trade deadline, mostly targetting expiring contracts that can help this season but will clear cap space in the summer.
A team source said the Lakers will pursue any 3-point shooter on an expiring deal, a group expected to include former Laker Wayne Ellington, Orlando’s Terrence Ross, Memphis’ Garrett Temple and Trevor Ariza, who many believe could be on the move again before the deadline if Washington continues to falter in the East.
Another possible target is Orlando center Nikola Vucevic, but with Vucevic expected to be named an All-Star in the East, his value would be significantly higher.
Vucevic is an interesting player. Not only does he give them shooting but he can shore up the center position that has been a deficiency since JaVale McGee contracted pneumonia. But as Oram mentions, Vuc is a star that the Magic may want to keep to make a playoff push. It will take more than the Lakers are likely willing to give up to get an expiring deal.
Ellington, Ross, Temple and Ariza all make sense and will come much cheaper for the Lakers should their respective teams want to make a trade.
The Lakers seem to want to remain patient and stick to the plan. They’re not going to trade their assets to hit a home run but give up their cap space that could let them get a better player in the summer. It is clear, however, that they need help in order to reach the playoffs this postseason with no certainty about when LeBron James will return.