Davis and James helped the Lakers overcome a sluggish first half to qualify for the postseason as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. They stunned the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the opening round before taking down the defending champion Golden State Warriors in the conference semis.
But the Lakers lacked the depth to keep pace with the eventual champion Denver Nuggets, who swept them in the Western Conference Finals. That series made it all too clear that the Lakers need a dynamic third scorer to help James and AD out.
At NBA Analysis Network, James Piercey proposed a massive trade idea that has the Lakers acquiring star guard C.J. McCollum from the New Orleans Pelicans for D’Angelo Russell, Taurean Prince and Gabe Vincent:
“Russell is more inclined to shoot off the dribble than off the catch. He’s also a pick-and-roll dominant point guard. Ideally, the Lakers would pair James with more of a combo guard.
In other words, a player like McCollum. He’s capable of making plays for himself and his teammates when need be, but he can also operate as an elite off-guard. If the Lakers aren’t satisfied with their performance leading up to the deadline, they should like this deal.
This wouldn’t be the first blockbuster trade between the Lakers and Pelicans. Back in 2019, of course, Los Angeles traded for Davis following the latter’s trade request. The Lakers emerged as the clear winners of that deal, with Davis helping them to the NBA title in 2020.
McCollum would certainly be an enticing addition for a Lakers team that’s in win-now mode. If Zion Williamson can stay healthy in 2023-24, then McCollum’s role on offense will decrease considerably. So there’s a case to be made that Portland should trade McCollum while his value is at its highest.
Last season, the soon-to-be 32-year-old McCollum averaged 20.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.
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