The season is not exactly being a bed of roses for the Lakers. With constant injuries, a very big irregularity in the game and many more defeats than expected, the Los Angeles franchise ranks eighth in the Western Conference with a 22-22 record. The second part of the season is going to be tough for a team that needs to keep winning and can’t reserve anyone for the playoffs. LeBron James, in a superhuman version at 37 years old, averages almost 29 points per game and has to play a lot of minutes to give his team victory. Anthony Davis still does not have a return date. And Russell Westbrook, a signing that everyone predicted as negative, has been as negative as forecast. Difficulties in the inside game (Dwight Howard is very lonely), arrivals that have not been what they promised (Trevor Ariza) and the occasional flash (Austin Reaves, Stanley Johnson) that shines in a darkness that always ends up imposing itself.

All this has caused the rumors around the Angelina franchise to multiply. In the early stages of the season it was already evident that Westbrook was not working, the endgames were very poorly managed and it did not square with LeBron. But nevertheless, and despite the fact that his departure has been rumored, it is impossible for him to go to another team before February 10, the day of the closing of the transfer market. The contract of 206 million dollars in 5 seasons that he signed with the Thunder in 2018-19 will bring him 44 million this year and another 47 the next, in which he will surely exercise his player option. It doesn’t look like the base is going to give up that money, which makes it practically insurmountable: on the one hand, there are very few teams that can take on that contract. On the other hand, his reputation hangs in the balance and no franchise has been interested in his services.

So what can the Lakers do in the market? According to Adrian Wojnarowski, not much. Kendrick Nunn, one of the possible trade pieces, is injured and there is little room to do much more. Assuming that LeBron AND Davis are not going anywhere, that it is not possible to trade Westbrook, That the string of veterans has no appeal and that Howard is not going to go out of necessity in the inside game, you can’t scratch too much. Perhaps people like Talen Horton-Tucker can enter a movement so that Eric Gordon reaches the franchise (not exactly the profile that the Lakers need) and young and hard-working people, who work on both sides of the track (such as Stanley Johnson , who has stayed after starting with a 10-day contract) and it is cheap (Kenrich Williams, of the Thunder?), it is one of the best options that the Angelenos have right now. I said, Little thing.

The option that has completely disappeared in recent days (it was already practically impossible in itself) is that of Jerami Grant. The Pistons player has already leaked that he will ask for a maximum extension with any team he goes to (112 million for four seasons), something the Lakers cannot afford. Rob Pelinka had raised with the Pistons the possibility of sending Horton-Tucker, Nunn and the first round of 2027 to Detroit, but Nunn’s injury and the latest news about Grant’s wishes have knocked down this offer, which did not excite the Pistons either. Too many pistons. Thus, the possibility of acquiring Grant, who showed extraordinary skills in the bubble Nuggets, works on both sides of the track, is completely lost. and is averaging 20.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists this season, although he has not played since December 12. Some physical discomfort that caused the Pistons to take great care of their figure, which is worth nothing in the dry dock. After all, no team wants an injured player.

Frank Vogel in the spotlight

Another variable that the Los Angeles team has to resolve is what to do with Frank Vogel. The coach has been involved in firing rumors since the season began, but Jeannie Buss came to her defense and assured that she would not make any decision until the squad was complete and you could see how everything worked as a whole. That has not happened yet and the question is whether this situation will exist at some point in a season that has had many players who have arrived late to the rotation after starting the course with discomfort, and others who have fallen shortly after. Because if, so far this campaign has been a disaster for the Lakers. But bad luck has been a practically objective factor that has affected the Los Angeles team.

The rumors that affected Vogel stopped after the words of the owner of the Lakers, but have re-emerged in recent days. Some sources say the Lakers were very close to firing him after the 37-point loss to the Nuggets., while others assure that his position was still highly questioned despite the victory against the Jazz. However, the technician does not finish leaving and Los Angeles Times He has assured that dismissal is more than unlikely. At the moment, it seems that the future of the coach who led the Lakers to the title in 2020 will depend on how the next results unfold and on the dynamics of a team full of stars from the present and, above all, from the past, which is struggling right now to enter the playoffs. A situation in which they did not expect to be and that requires changes. But that has little room to maneuver for big changes. In the end, the Lakers have an enemy above all: themselves.


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