The season is slowly slipping away for the Los Angeles Lakers who suffered yet another loss last night with LeBron James nursing an ankle injury and Anthony Davis once again pulling off one of his shenanigans in street clothes; after just returning 2 games prior from a foot injury which kept him out for over a month. The Lakers are still in the mix for the Play-in Tournament as we speak but from the looks of it their ceiling seems to be a shot at the Play-in Tournament and a second round exit at best assuming LeBron and Davis are both healthy and available and can pull off an upset in a first-round matchup just because of the star-power of a LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers could still make a move or two by throwing in Russell Westbrook and one of those 1st-round picks but what would that fetch you? A Fred VanVleet?Buddy Hield? I’m passing, if the Lakers are going to mortgage their future to keep LeBron James in purple and gold beyond this coming summer they have to aim big and trade for Hawks dynamo Trae Young; and if possible at this very trade deadline which is quickly approaching.
The Lakers bring over a Trae Young via trade at the deadline and I don’t care how up and down the season has gone so far, they’ll be putting themselves in the mix for the title not only this season but next season as well. Then LeBron James donning a number 6 jersey would actually make sense as he seeks to match Michael Jordan’s 6 titles a feat even me as a long-time LeBron supporter gave up on at this point. The Lakers won a title in The Bubble with LeBron James and Anthony Davis both healthy and Rondo catching lightning in a bottle by playing prime Boston Celtic Rondo basketball and of course Kentavious Caldwell-Pope,Alex Caruso,Kyle Kuzma,Dwight Howard,and JaVale McGee timely defense. They thought they could switch up the personnel around LeBron and Davis the following season and throw opposing teams in for a loop by adding Marc Gasol,Montrezl Harrell,and Dennis Schroder which could’ve resulted in a success; but Anthony Davis decided to ruin those hopes by suffering an unexpected injury in the first round against the Phoenix Suns which all but eliminated the Lakers’s chances at a deep playoff run that season.
Last season Rob Pelinka brought over Russell Westbrook in hopes of him being the guy who would help extend LeBron’s career but all he’s done so far in Los Angeles is put even more onus on LeBron’s now 38 year old shoulders. He’s just not what he once was and although Laker head coach Darvin Ham has figured out a role for him unlike former head coach Frank Vogel who had him out there last season looking like a reindeer in headlights, he is not going to move the needle for the Lakers not this season or beyond. Now Trae Young? He’d give the Lakers exactly what they need being that he could actually start alongside LeBron James and would also compliment Lakers superstar big Anthony Davis. Trae Young is a true floor general who can actually be the marksman they so sorely lack at the moment, not to mention he’d compliment Lakers new acquisition Rui Hachimura who would only benefit from Young’s play-making ability.
In Trae Young we are talking about a young man who is only the ripe age of 24 and just actually hitting his prime; as it stands at the moment the Atlanta Hawks are going nowhere fast in the Eastern Conference with Bucks’s superstar Giannis Antetokoumpo out for blood after last season’s disappointing finish and of course Jayson Tatum as well in Boston who is out for redemption after an abysmal performance in last year’s Finals versus the Golden State Warriors. That’s leaving out the Brooklyn Nets who with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would be a handful for the Hawks as well as the Philadelphia Sixers who boast James Harden and Joel Embiid with a ridiculous amount of depth; and of course I’m done counting out the Miami Heat at this point, a move here and there and they;ll also be in the mix. The climb is steep in the Eastern Conference for Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks, it would take a prime Tim Duncan or Shaquille O’Neal to walk through that door in order to compete with the Celtics and Bucks this season.
The reality is Trae Young just can’t be the first option on a championship team and I know that is still a premature statement in the eyes of many being that Trae’s miraculous run in the 2021 NBA Playoffs is still fresh in their heads but the Eastern Conference is a different animal this time around. Trae Young could arguably be the second best player on a championship team if you put him behind a top 5 player but even that would be a gamble; on the Lakers behind LeBron and Davis he would be a seamless fit and there would be no ifs and’s or buts about it. After all what are Rob Pelinka’s options with those 2 mighty draft picks? Kyrie Irving? Seeming more and more like he’s re-upping in Brooklyn, Bradley Beal? Interesting but injury prone and 30 can’t come any quicker, Damian Lillard? I guess we could all dream but he’s not the orchestrator Trae Young is and I have a harder time seeing him wanting out of Portland after being loyal for so long and being the face of a franchise to becoming a 3rd wheel behind LeBron and Davis. I’ll keep my fingers crossed the Hawks reek enough by the trade deadline that Trae Young asks out and Rob throws the house at the Hawks’s front office in order to bring Trae on over to Los Angeles but we might have to wait till the summer, for now let’s just enjoy LeBron’s greatness as history is upon us in his chase for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s long-held scoring record.