After refusing to trade Russell Westbrook and their 2027 First Round Pick for John Wall, the Los Angeles Lakers focus their attention on buyout candidate Goran Dragic as per multiple sources around the league. The Purple and Gold desperately need help, as the 26-31 Lakers continue to struggle from the perimeter on both sides of the ball after letting go of key role players from their championship squad that fit perfectly alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis to make way for Westbrook.
The Lakers are seriously interested in Dragic
In Dragic, the Lakers could get a potential boost in their outside shooting and playmaking capabilities while adding a player proven to be a solid team defender under Erik Spoelstra in Miami. Dragic averaged around 20 ppg in the NBA Bubble on a team that had its offense revolved around All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo; Goran did a fantastic job of orchestrating the offense while taking advantage of scoring opportunities created by Miami’s stars, helping the Heat reach their first NBA Finals since the famous Heatles Era led by LeBron Jame, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
“I’m told they (San Antonio and Goran Dragic) are going to have a buyout here in the coming days. And then the Lakers are going to get in line with a number of contenders, including the Warriors, the Chicago Bulls, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets.” - Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN.
The main concern is whether Dragic can perform properly
Playing alongside LeBron and AD would allow Dragic to fill in the same role as he did in Miami while getting even more opportunities to score due to the attention that both James and Davis garner while on the floor. His skill set also resembles guards that have had success playing alongside James in the past, such as Mo Williams, Mario Chalmers, and to a certain extent, Kyrie Irving. Dragic is nowhere near the star that Kyrie is, but he can shoot the ball and is great a secondary creator on offense, a role that when played to perfection, has brought LeBron and his team a championship ring. The Slovenian Spitfire would also help the Lakers solve their issue of playing Russell Westbrook in the closing moments of games, giving them a much more complimentary offensive option down the stretch at the guard possession.
The problem is, Dragic has only played five games this season for the Toronto Raptors. Luckily he is healthy, but the Raptors did not feel like he fit the development they were trying to kickstart in Toronto. Who knows if Dragic can still play at a high level after his injury? Who knows if he can significantly contribute to a team after being out for so long?
It’s disturbing for Laker fans that so far, the only names the Lakers have been linked to are guys who have barely played or not played at all this season. If I were a betting man, this would tell me that the Lakers have reached a whole new level of desperation to try and turn things around.
However, playing guys who have not seen any action may backfire on their plans, as there must be some reason as to why guys who the Lakers are looking at, like John Wall, Paul Millsap, and Goran Dragic, were deemed as unable to contribute to their teams at the beginning of the season. The Lakers’ season is already going terribly, and signing players whose teams did not want them on the floor this season may even send them further down that slippery slope.