With more and more reports that the Lakers are going to be active on the trade market, we begin to wonder if this is due to the LA Clippers.
The LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are destined to meet in the playoffs. While the Clippers have won both of their games this season, the jury is still out as to who really is the best team in LA. Currently, the Lakers sit atop the Western Conference at 29-7 while the Clips are in fourth at 26-12.
Both teams are rumored to make a move prior to the trade deadline, but constant reports make the Lakers seem more desperate to do so.
The Lakers in the past few days have been linked to Marcus Morris, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and, most recently, Robert Covington. The goal seems to be to add shooting in all three cases, but also someone that can help defend wings in the case of Morris and Covington. Bobby Marks and Kevin Pelton of ESPN says as much in their piece regarding the Lakers looking to deal (ESPN+ required):
With a four-game cushion atop the Western Conference at 29-7, the Lakers have the best odds among championship contenders at Caesars Sportsbook (plus-250). Yet a pair of losses to their fellow Staples Center tenants, the LA Clippers, have exposed shortcomings in the Lakers’ closing five-man lineups.
It’s odd to see that in writing, especially considering the Clippers’ two victories come at just a combined 15 points. The two will face each other again at the end of this month just days prior to the trade deadline of February 6, but a move could have already been made by then.
The Lakers closing lineup of Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis could obviously use some upgrading. Danny Green is a decent defender as is LeBron, but any of the three aforementioned targets would be an upgrade over KCP or Bradley. With a solid young piece in Kyle Kuzma as trade bait, it wouldn’t be shocking to see them pull off a deal.
With the two teams likely to meet during the postseason, it makes sense that both would want to upgrade wherever possible. Both have been linked to Morris and Andre Iguodala and it is likely we see at least one, if not both, of the franchises try to upgrade their roster before the end of the year.