Before the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to part ways with their leading scorer Lou Williams, sending him to the Houston Rockets for Cory Brewer and a 2017 first-round pick. Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson explained that logic behind the trade.
“This trade allows us to continue on the path of building something special, while maintaining future flexibility within the organization,” Johnson said. “Additionally, Corey is a proven veteran who will make a positive impact on our team right away.”
Lou Williams trade still benefits the Lakers
No one predicted that the Lakers would trade veteran guard Lou Williams. He has been the most productive player in Los Angeles despite coming off the bench in most of the games. In 58 games with the Lakers this season, Williams averaged 18.6 points and 3.2 assists on 44.4 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from beyond the arc.
The acquisition of Corey Brewer doesn’t make a lot of sense since the Lakers have gluts of big men. However, the 2017 first-round pick will surely help them to acquire another young asset on their team. The Lakers also have their own first-round pick in the upcoming draft.
However, they could lose it to the Philadelphia 76ers if it doesn’t fall on the Top-3. Trading Lou Williams turned out beneficial as it would help them secure their pick. Coach Luke Walton is strongly against tanking. But after losing their best scorer, it will not be a surprise if the Lakers ended the season as one of the worst teams.
Lakers prioritize development of young players
Walton stated in the past that they plan to use the final months of the season to prioritize the development of their young core. The plan commenced when he put Brandon Ingram and Tarik Black in the starting lineup as replacements for Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov. Deng and Mozgov may fail to live up to expectations but they can still be useful to the young Lakers team.
The Lakers had the chance to acquire a superstar when the Sacramento Kings offered DeMarcus Cousins. However, they refused to trade rookie forward Brandon Ingram. With his move, the Lakers made it clear that they have no plan to move their young players. Johnson even labeled their young core as “untouchables”.
Cousins will undeniably be a great addition but it will not make them an immediate contender. As Johnson stated, it will take two to three years before the Lakers return to title contention. As of now, the Lakers need to develop their young core and make the purple and gold an attractive destination for superstars once again.
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