Los Angeles Lakers: 3 Realistic trade deadline targets to cement contender status

The Los Angeles Lakers may need to make a sizable move at the NBA Trade Deadline if they wish to emerge as serious championship contenders.
Who can the Lakers acquire to help James and Davis?
Who can the Lakers acquire to help James and Davis? / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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If the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to make a splash move at the NBA Trade Deadline, they will have a few realistic options.

The Los Angeles Lakers understand that they are one player away from separating themselves and unlocking Anthony Davis' potential as they could allow him to play his more natural power forward position instead of center.

If the Lakers can acquire a player who could score in the paint, stretch the floor, and protect the paint, it would bring some relief to Davis who the Lakers depend on to be the defensive anchor and score on the offensive end. With another threat to score in the post, it could open things up for Davis to operate and opponents will have to think twice before they attempt to double-team him.

On the defensive end, a player who can deter guards from driving to the lane and who can guard the likes of Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns, Chet Holmgren, or Domantas Sabonis as the Lakers are likely to see at least one of these dynamic players in a playoff series. Davis is one of the best shot blockers in the NBA and currently ranks 5th averaging 2.6 blocks per game. But if Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka can acquire a starting caliber center or power forward before the deadline, it will make this Lakers team scary to play against.

3 Realistic trade targets for the Los Angeles Lakers

Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls

Even though he just signed a three-year contract extension during the offseason, the Chicago Bulls could be looking to move center Nikola Vucevic. With Zach LaVine's name popping up in trade rumors and the possibility of a roster retooling in the Windy City, Vucevic could be playing in a new uniform by season's end.

If he does become available, Pelinka could be all in with an attempt to acquire the two-time All-Star. Vucevic currently averages 16.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, and even though he is slightly past his prime, he is still a solid player whose contributions could elevate the Lakers.

Such a vital part of Vucevic's game that often goes unnoticed is his underrated ability as a passer. He's one of the best in the league at the swing pass on the drive and he can also find his teammates while playing in the post. He keeps everybody moving on offense and makes it difficult for opposing defenses to get set. If the Lakers acquire Vucevic, it would ultimately be up to head coach Darvin Ham and how he implements the offense.

The potential to dominate will be there as long as he surrounds Vucevic and Davis with good shooters and decent to average defenders. Vucevic isn't much of a rim protector and he moves slow laterally but his positives outweigh any negatives he has. However, the Bulls asking price could be steep considering there are only a few skilled big men in the league with Vucevic's particular skill set.