My how times have changed since July 9, 2019 when Hollywood’s new chosen one, LeBron James appeared to change the NBA landscape upon taking his talents to Los Angeles. At that time, the dawn of a new era appeared to arrive as the newest version of “Showtime” was ready to assembled.
But that was then, and this is now. Here we are less than a week removed from the 2019 NBA Trade deadline and a recent 42-point annihilation suffered at the hands of the Victor Oladipo-less Indiana Pacers and the Lakers appear to be the red-headed stepchild of the Western Conference as they currently sit at the 10thspot and are out of the playoff picture.
Once upon a time, the Lakers had what appeared to be an abundance of young assets; including the likes of Lonzo Ball – a pass-first playmaker, who appears to be most effective when he dominates the ball and gets other teammates involved; Brandon Ingram – a 6-foot-9 wing, who is at his best when he uses that 7-foot-3 wing span to shoot over his opponents; and most importantly, Kyle Kuzma – a first round steel who, prior to the year, some felt could make a run for the audition of the Lakers’ version of Robin to LeBron James’ Batman. However, with LeBron James (both in and out of the lineup), these young lions have struggled to find their identity and as a result, their stock appeared to plummet in the eyes of other teams.
Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka and company may have dug themselves a hole by essentially offering its entire young roster, multiple future first round draft picks, cap relief, blood samples and the like for Anthony Davis with crickets still coming from the other phone line of Dell Demps and the ever-so-patient, New Orleans Pelicans with potential summer offers from the Boston Celtics looming on the horizon.
The Pelicans, by defiantly staying silent, sent an emphatic message to LeBron James and agent, Rich Paul, who attempted to flex their NBA muscle around the league a few weeks ago by orchestrating Davis’ trade request to L.A. Unfortunately for Laker super-team fans, other NBA organizations are catching onto players attempts to control their trade destinations and consequently, are no longer yielding to such demands.
Until such time, the Lakers’ fate hinges on the likes of now-disgruntled young prospects like Kuzma – who may eventually develop into a perennial All Star. Unfortunately, the biological clock for James is ticking, which means much to the dismay of the Lakers brass, the fact that they came up empty handed by the NBA’s trade deadline means, regardless of how the Lakers try and sell this Hollywood story, they must reload and rebuild.