The Los Angeles Lakers were the most active team at the trade deadline this season and it is safe to say that fans are extremely happy with all the moves that were made. In total, Los Angeles made four trades this season to bring in an assortment of new talent that not only improved the roster but made the team better as well.
There is still a lot of work to be done, as the team now has to go out and actually win some games to climb up the standings, but this is a Lakers team that is much better than it was two weeks ago. Not only do they have a better chance of contending this year but they are set up for the future as well.
Despite the improvements, there is still one glaring hole on the roster that needs to be addressed by the front office after the deadline. Rob Pelinka is going to have to utilize the buyout market in order to give the team something it doesn’t really have right now: a traditional small forward.
The Lakers have an open roster spot to bring in a small forward.
The Lakers’ roster currently stands at 14 players, giving the team the ability to bring in a small forward without having to make any adjacent moves. This has been a need for Los Angeles all season as they entered the year with little to no wing depth to speak of.
The Lakers did add some wing depth but they still lack a traditional four. They have power forwards in the likes of LeBron James, Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown and Jarred Vanderbilt. The problem is that LeBron is LeBron and Hachimura is much more suited as a four, not a three. Brown and Vanderbilt can’t really shoot, so trying to tweak them to be a three won’t work.
This is a Lakers roster that is filled with frontcourt talent and backcourt talent but is missing that key small forward piece that can patch up the holes as a bench role player. The team either has to go small and play someone like Austin Reaves or Lonnie Walker at the three or has to go bigger and maybe sacrifice some shooting with the other candidates.
All Los Angeles needs is someone who could play 15-18 minutes a game off the bench and give Darvin Ham more lineup flexibility for when the playoffs roll around. The team should be able to find that on the buyout market and could even find that with a familiar face.
The Los Angeles Lakers traded Thomas Bryant at a premium price and fans can thank DeAndre Jordan for being such a bad backup in Denver.
If the Lakers don’t it won’t be the end of the world and they will have to make do. However, if Pelinka wants to continue raising the team’s ceiling, that is the way to go.