Report: Some within the Lakers want them to ‘wipe the slate clean and start over’

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

No one has any idea how this season will ultimately turn out for the Los Angeles Lakers, but that reportedly hasn’t stopped some within the organization from thinking they need to make some significant moves afterward.

“According to executives around the league, some within the Lakers prefer to see the franchise take a more conservative and, perhaps, wiser route — wipe the slate clean and start over,” wrote Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports.

The suggestions include moving on from superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis and undergoing a youth movement of sorts.

“Let LeBron go, trade Anthony Davis, get the Klutch (Sports agency) influence out of there, collect draft picks and start over with young pieces and cap space,” one Western Conference executive said. “That is what they need. Something drastic. They’re in a loop they can’t get out of. There are more than a few people in that organization who want them to go that route but you know, they’re not at the top of the food chain.”

James holds a player option on his contract for next season, and a recent report said the 39-year-old might look for a new deal that includes a rare no-trade clause. An earlier report said he was looking for a nine-figure deal to remain with the Lakers.

In fact, his future is in such flux that Paul Pierce even suggested that James accept a trade to finish his career where it began, with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

If the icon were to move on after his 21st NBA season, it might be thought that hanging onto Davis, who turned 31 last month, would not be a wise move for the Lakers. After appearing in 74 games so far and playing at an All-NBA level this season, Davis would likely have significant value on the trade market.

The Lakers are bound for the postseason for the fourth time in the past five seasons but are headed for the play-in round for a second straight year. Last season, they emerged from that round to advance all the way to the 2023 Western Conference Finals, where they were swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets.

With just two games to go in this regular season, they have a 45-35 record and are in 10th place in the Western Conference.

“They’re not a bad team,” another executive said of the Lakers. “But they’re stuck. A lot of teams in the league are in the same situation. They’re 45, 46, 47-win teams but don’t have the means to get past that. The difference with the Lakers is that they’re old and they need a reset. It is probably going to get worse before it gets better. I think there are plenty of people in that building who know it, but they don’t want to say it.”

At times they have shown they are capable of great things, having won the first NBA In-Season Tournament back in December with James earning its first MVP award. Heading down the stretch, they also won nine of 10 games before a recent two-game slide that included a key loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.

Their 45 victories are the most they have had in the regular season since winning the 2020 NBA championship that was contested in the COVID-19 bubble. After playing at the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, they wrap up the campaign at the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.