All signs point to the Los Angeles Lakers missing the NBA playoffs for a third consecutive season. Coming into Thursday’s game against the visiting Chicago Bulls, the Lakers have won only nine games with no telling when the storied franchise may turn things around.
With the NBA trade deadline approaching, Los Angeles could be one of the most active teams in the league with one rising star player potentially in the team’s crosshairs. The Lakers will have until Feb. 18 to make moves and acquiring center Hassan Whiteside might be a deal the team explores, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN on Jan. 27:
Because the Lakers would have to use cap space to sign Whiteside to a max-type contract whether he is on their roster or not, trading players or picks for him would only make sense to prevent the Miami Heat from trading him elsewhere at the deadline.
At this point, Whiteside will be one of the more sought-after free agents in the NBA come July. It is no secret the Lakers brass is desperate to right the ship in Los Angeles and bringing in Whiteside could be a significant step in the right direction.
Obviously, superstar Kevin Durant will be the team’s top target in free agency. Durant will be the biggest name on the open market, but it is uncertain whether the Lakers are truly in the running to sign the one-time NBA MVP.
As for Whiteside, the 26-year-old center is currently leading the league in blocks by a wide margin. Whiteside is averaging a career-high 3.9 blocks per game to go along with 12.3 points and 11.2 rebounds per contest. The Marshall product has quickly become one of the best defensive players in the league and would be a considerable upgrade for the Lakers in the paint.