The season is over, and there is one postseason omission that everyone is focused on. Lebron James, and the storied L.A Lakers are out of the playoffs and end the season with an abysmal 33-49 record that is more in line with a tanking team. With massive contracts sunk into Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and Lebron James and little to no future assets, Rob Pelinka and Jeannie Buss will need to do something to maximize the final years before Lebron. 

The Big Questions 

The big question in L.A is actually a multitude of different questions. Every player from A.D to Russ have question marks on their future with the team and role if they do stay around. Starting with the biggest name, Anthony Davis, the biggest concern with him is health. It almost always seems like there is some injury that is stopping or limiting A.D from playing at his best. When he is clicking, the dynamic he brings can only be matched by the likes of Jokic and Embiid, two MVP favorites, and when matching with Lebron it is almost impossible to stop this team.

 The problem is that this A.D has only surfaced during the Lakers championship run and we have barely seen him since. Even when Davis is on the floor, issues aren’t solved. Russell Westbrook was brought in to carry the load from time to time, but has only become a floor clogger with his only offense coming around the basket. With these two massive stars struggling with health and an inability to find a role, you would think things couldn’t get much worse for the Lakers. You would be wrong on that one. The Lakers decided to prioritize a new deal for Talen Horton-Tucker who has been almost non-existent over a deal for Kyle Kuzma, who was traded off the team and has been having a breakout year. With all the money locked into their big three and decisions to extend THT, the Lakers have barely any money left to spend on an impact free agent. The Lakers will be depending on bargain free agents, and there is no way they can fix all their problems with the money that they have. 

Is there anything L.A can do? 

This entire franchise seems to have fallen back onto bad times, and after one big high the Lakers are back in the lottery. Without their own first round draft pick until 2024, the Lakers are either going to have to find some quality players in undrafted free agency. They have been able to do it before with Austin Reaves and Mac McClung, but they will desperately need any kind of talent infusion possible. They also have the option of taking fliers on high upside players who have failed elsewhere such as Kevin Knox. Coming into trade season, the Lakers have two obvious candidates in Westbrook and Anthony. It is going to be almost impossible for the Lakers to move Westbrook, but if they can find the right package for the Rockets to say yes to a John Wall trade then that would be a massive boost to the team. One of the more far fetched ideas is by trading Davis. This can allow the Lakers to acquire 3-D spacers and young players they need to best maximize this roster. The front office will have to weigh the trade off of giving up one of the best players in the league, who has been unable to get on the court, but also getting pieces that could better help the entire offense work. Another major development that could help the Lakers is their new search for a head coach. If they do manage to land Nick Nurse or even Mark Jackson, it could signal a change in culture. If they can imbue some sort of identity that can lead to success, then the Lakers could finally have some light at the end of the tunnel. It is entirely possible that this team can stand pat and hope a new coaching hire does the job, but if they want to give themselves some hope of keeping Lebron they need to find some way to change and better maximize the group around the King. 

Top Image: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

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