The Los Angeles Lakers returned to .500 after winning four of their last six games, including Thursday’s 141-132 win over the Chicago Bulls.
But during this mini-resurgence, it is the Lakers’ offense, more than their defense, which has been carrying them — not a surefire formula for a deep playoff run.
ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks suggested a trade that will fortify the Lakers’ defense and give them enough shooting to surround their top 3 players LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves.
Marks’ trade proposal:
Los Angeles Lakers receive: Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie
Brooklyn Nets receive: D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura and 2029 first (top-14 protected)
In this trade scenario, the Lakers are essentially swapping their offense-oriented players for defense without sacrificing shooting.
Finney-Smith and Dinwiddie are averaging 2.0 3-pointers per game this season. Finney-Smith would give the Lakers another versatile defender to add to Jarred Vanderbilt, giving them a 48-minute perimeter defense.
On top of shoring up their defense, the Lakers would also unload substantial money off their books for more flexibility in the offseason.
Dinwiddie is on an expiring contract while Finney-Smith is owed roughly $6 million less than Hachimura over the next two seasons.
Finney-Smith will be a bargain for $30 million for the next two seasons, including a $15.3 million player option for the 2025-26 season.
D’Angelo Russell Remains Red-Hot
Coinciding the Lakers’ mini-resurgence is Russell’s hot streak.
Since he returned to the starting lineup seven games ago, Russell is averaging 27.4 points and 6.6 assists while hitting a ridiculous 53.1% of his robust 9.1 3-point attempts per game.
He led the Lakers again in scoring with 29 points, anchored by 8 3-pointers, in their bounced-back win over the Bulls after a 127-116 loss to the Clippers without James.
“I just try, like I said a few interviews ago, to compliment [James] and [Davis],” Russell told reporters after the win. “To be honest I know they can get us out of the game single-handedly so I just try to complement them if that’s me shooting, facilitating, or whatever it may be.
I’ve been in a few different situations so just adapting to my situation the sooner, the better for me. This is me adapting to what my role is. Obviously, I don’t really know but I think that aggression is allowing me to have some success.”
Russell’s hot streak amid the trade rumors puts the Lakers in a tricky situation.
Should they keep him and trust that he sustains this form until the playoffs or he would shrink under the bright lights and become unplayable again come spring?
Lakers, 2 More Teams Interested in Malcolm Brodgon
According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, the Lakers are among the three teams interested in reigning 6th Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon.
“In addition to the Knicks and Lakers, league personnel believe Brogdon has another team with a legitimate interest in his services: Houston, which has plenty of former Boston staffers who overlapped with Brogdon during his season with the Celtics,” Fischer reported on January 26.
Portland’s current asking price for Brogdon is a first-round pick, according to multiple reports.
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