The Lakers are the definition of an average team at the moment. They have been hovering around a .500 winning percentage all season and they look destined to be a play-in tournament team for the third season in a row.
Time is running out on LeBron James and Anthony Davis' championship window and it seems like LeBron knows it. He added more fuel to the trade deadline fire by making a post on X with a single hourglass emoji.
To turn this mediocre mess of a season around they need to look to shake up the roster at the trade deadline on February 8th. There have been plenty of trade rumors surrounding this team all season, most recently that they are trying to add Hawks guard Dejounte Murray.
Murray played great in his audition against the Lakers in the Hawks' victory over Los Angeles last week. He put up 24 points, nine assists, two steals, and was a +19 for the game.
This should have reminded the Lakers that they need Dejounte Murray at any cost
The rumored package that the Lakers have offered for Murray is D'Angelo Russell, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and their 2029 first-round pick. The Hawks have not seemed interested in making that deal, and countered by saying they want the Lakers' most valuable trade asset Austin Reaves in any Murray deal.
Reaves has been untouchable in Lakers trade talks since his breakout season last year, but the Lakers should consider selling high on him. Murray would be a major defensive upgrade over Reaves, averages six more points a game, and despite being in the league four more years is only two years older than Reaves.
Obviously, the Lakers would rather get rid of Russell over the fan-favorite Reaves in a Murray deal, but the Hawks don't want him. Russell has been playing well lately averaging over 22 points per game in January, so him and Murray would be a great pairing together in the backcourt with both of them being able to facilitate and score.
Also, by adding Reaves to the deal the Lakers might be able to entice the Hawks to include center Clint Capela in the deal, he would help with the Lakers rebounding issue and would be a rim protector alongside Anthony Davis. They would just have to match the money by adding contracts like Hood-Schifino, Gabe Vincent, and Taurean Prince to the deal and they might not even have to throw in the 2029 first-round pick.
Another option that has been floated around is that the Lakers could make a three-team deal to pry Murray from the Hawks. ESPN recently published a piece that mentioned a three-team deal involving one of Russell's former teams the Brooklyn Nets that would send him back to Brooklyn, the Hawks would receive Spencer Dinwiddie and the Lakers 2029 first-round pick, and the Lakers would end up with Murray.
That deal seems unlikely because there isn't that much incentive for the Nets to make it happen. It seems like the only way the Lakers are going to add Murray to their squad this season is if they just give in and trade Reaves.
Most Laker fans would consider it crazy to trade Reaves, especially after his last two games putting up 28 points against Atlanta and leading the way with 32 points in a win over Boston. It would've also been crazy to think that the Lakers could trade Reaves for an all-star caliber talent when they signed him as an undrafted free agent a few years ago.
It has been somewhat of an up-and-down season for Reaves compared to his great playoff performance last year. All of his shooting percentages are down from last season and he is only averaging 2.5 more points per game.
He has only started half of the games this season and did not flourish as some expected him to as the team's starting point guard and number one ball handler. His 3-point shooting has also taken a step back this season, and surprisingly Murray is shooting a better percentage from that distance this season.
One of the Lakers biggest issues this season has been their inability to defend on the perimeter. Reaves has been a part of that problem and Murray could perhaps be part of that solution. Murray was the youngest to ever be selected to an all-defensive team in his second season and has since been regarded as one of the best defenders in the league at his position.
In the playoffs, the Lakers are going to face plenty of guards that are mismatches for anyone currently on the Lakers roster. Murray would help contain guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, De'Aaron Fox, and Devin Booker who the Lakers might face in the postseason.
With the recent injury to Jared Vanderbilt, it is even more important for the Lakers to find a way to supplement his defense. Dejounte won't be a savior for all of the Lakers' issues, but it is worth seeing to see if he can make the team better and inject some new energy into this season.
The moves the Lakers made at the trade deadline last season were vital to them getting to the Western Conference Finals. This team needs that same type of change and trading for Murray might be their best option to turn this season around and make another deep playoff run.