The Los Angeles Lakers appear dead-set on adding one more superstar to their roster to aid LeBron James in his pursuit of another NBA championship next year.
Following the Lakers’ unceremonious exit from the NBA playoffs, rumors have swirled that James may be disgruntled with the way that the organization has failed to build a strong roster around him. Now, experts are saying that the Lakers may be interested in adding Atlanta Hawks star point guard Trae Young. According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, the Lakers are already having “internal discussions” just days after being bounced from the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets.
The Lakers have found themselves in a tough spot this offseason, with James hinting that he may no longer want to play in the NBA. As Rob Mattox of The American Tribune wrote, James was less than certain when asked if he would return to the team next season:
After the game, a glum James met with the media to discuss his future. Via TMZ Sports, he said: “We’ll see what happens going forward,” James said to a throng of media members following the 113-111 defeat. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I got a lot to think about, to be honest. I got a lot to think about, to be honest.”
James is 38, and his skills are undeniably eroding in real-time, but he is still likely the best player on a Laker team whose window is slamming shut. No one considered his retirement a possibility before the season, but now, considering how meekly the Lakers bowed out of the playoffs, all scenarios are on the table.
According to the New York Post, Trae Young may be able to come in and take some of the heavy load off James’ shoulders. They wrote:
As for the 24-year-old Young, he has established himself as a top guard in the league and would alleviate some of the ball handling from the 38-year-old veteran James, if the Lakers could find a way to obtain him.
Young was the fifth overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft and has since been named a two-time All Star, 2018-2019 All-Rookie, and 2021-2022 All NBA in his five-year professional career.
Each of the past three seasons with Young as the leading point guard, the Hawks have made the playoffs.
While there is still no word about whether the Hawks and Lakers have made contact on a trade, it does seem to make sense for the Lakers. After mortgaging their franchise to bring in James and co-star Anthony Davis, team is left with a now-or-never championship window. Rob of The American Tribune wonders, however, if it may be too little too late for a team that is led by an aging player:
However, there is only so much rejuvenation a man his age can do, and considering the talent on the team is probably topped out, he may decide to ride off into the sunset before his legacy gets any more tarnished.
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