3 Trade deadline moves that would boost Lakers, 2 they must avoid

The Lakers need to upgrade their roster before the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Move Lakers must avoid: Standing pat

Having an inactive trade deadline could have negative short and long-term ramifications. The Lakers have been relatively healthy this season and sit ninth in the Western Conference. Without upgrades, they could be in the Play-In Tournament and draw the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.

An early exit could force LeBron James to reconsider his status in Los Angeles. The GOAT has a $51.4 million player option for next season and has made no decision on what to do with it.

If they lose LeBron, the Lakers would have to consider a rebuild. Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves are not leading them to a championship. The Lakers have the leading scorer in NBA history and a shot to win right now. They must maximize it or risk losing King James as soon as this summer.

Standing pat would also keep D’Angelo Russell on their roster. The veteran guard is playing well, but can the franchise trust him in the postseason? D-Lo’s minutes and production dipped last season, especially against the eventual-champion Denver Nuggets. Finding a guard upgrade over Russell should be the top priority for general manager Rob Pelinka.

Doing nothing is an option, but one that could bite the Lakers and force LeBron to leave LA.