Report: Lakers Looking to Add Ball-Handler and Wing Defender to Roster - Lakers Daily Report: Lakers Looking to Add Ball-Handler and Wing Defender to Roster - Lakers Daily

Report: Lakers Looking to Add Ball-Handler and Wing Defender to Roster

Andre Iguodala and Kawhi Leonard

The Los Angeles Lakers learned a lot about what they’re missing after their loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the season opener.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Lakers are looking for a ball-handler and/or wing defender. The Clippers exploited their Staples Center rivals on opening night when LeBron James spent too much time as a playmaker and wing defender due to injuries to key players.

“The hope is that Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso shoot well enough and reduce some of the playmaking load that currently rests on James’ shoulders,” Windhorst wrote. “Kyle Kuzma has promised that he has improved his shooting and his ballhandling and that when he gets back from injury he’ll be everything the team needs.”

Perhaps Kuzma could perform the two roles that the Lakers need, but that’s a tall order for the 24-year old who’s expected to be one of the team’s leading scorers.

“More than likely, though, the Lakers will be on the hunt to add a reliable player as the postseason approaches,” Windhorst added. “The one name on everyone’s lips is Iguodala. Getting a player like that would be a huge boon to the Lakers, who have a real problem with how to defend the LA Clippers, a possible playoff opponent, and their vicious wing scorers.”

Unfortunately for the Lakers, trading for their needs might be a huge problem.

“The Lakers also have a real problem in a lack of trade assets.” wrote Windhorst. “They aren’t permitted to trade any first-round pick, and they don’t have a second-round pick available until 2023. They don’t have many tradable pieces, and three tradable players — Rondo, JaVale McGee and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — have no-trade clauses. Long story short, they have to play the buyout market, and even then, they currently don’t have a roster spot to sign anyone. Their two biggest trade assets, league executives believe, are Kuzma and Danny Green, but both play important roles.”

The trade that brought Anthony Davis to the Lakers also made them thin on playmakers after guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart were shipped off to the New Orleans Pelicans. The loss of Brandon Ingram via the same deal with New Orleans also presents a problem for the Lakers that they are now trying to address.

Regardless of the team’s depth issues, there’s no question that the Davis trade has turned the Purple and Gold into championship contenders. If they can take care of their roster issues, the Lakers should be a more formidable foe for the Clippers the next time they meet.