The Lakers made a lot of smart moves this offseason, but these three mistakes could cost LeBron James and Anthony Davis a shot at another NBA title.
The presence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers‘ roster gives Los Angeles a legitimate chance to win an NBA title this season. As such, it was the right move for the team’s front office to go all-in during the offseason to surround their star duo with the talent required to win another championship. The Lakers deserve credit for their overall level of offseason ambition, but several of their moves could come back to haunt them during the 2021-22 campaign.
In fairness to GM Rob Pelinka and the front office, the Lakers didn’t enter the offseason with a ton of flexibility. The giant salaries of James and Davis make it difficult for Los Angeles to add talent via free agency. The team also lacked the sort of draft capital required to change their short or long-term futures via a rookie acquisition.
That meant the Lakers had to pull off big trades if they wanted to reshape their roster. The Russell Westbrook deal certainly qualifies. Los Angeles feels like they’re perfectly positioned for a title run, but the following three decisions could end their season early.
3. Letting Marc Gasol walk
Gasol wasn’t a huge factor for the Lakers last season for a variety of reasons, but he is the perfect sort of center to help the team cover up some of its shortcomings. In particular, his ability to space the floor from the top of the key could have unlocked a lot of offensive power for Los Angeles.
He isn’t capable of being a switch defender at this point in his career, but he’s still one of the better post defenders on the planet. Dumping him to the Grizzlies in exchange for a second-round pick was a really poor use of resources for the Lakers. He could have helped them against certain opponents.