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CHALLENGE: LeBron James challenge Nikola Jokic for a one on one match madness if only he can prove himself a real Nuggets star

The Los Angeles Lakers face a crucial offseason after being dominated by the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. They ran it back with virtually the same roster that reached the conference finals in 2023 but were not good enough. Blame injuries, coaching, or whatever else if you wish. The Lakers must improve their roster if they want to contend for a championship.

The rumors are already heating up. Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, Dejounte Murray, and more are potential targets. LA may try to go the third star route or just add role players to round out their roster. The Lakers certainly need depth with LeBron James turning 40 in December.

Young is the marquee name most linked to joining LeBron and company. He is a Klutch Sports client who fills the Lakers’ need at point guard. Ice Trae is one of the best offensive creators in the world, but does he want to come to Hollywood? Young made his desires clear on his podcast.

Young was asked about his desires on his From the Point podcast, and the three-time All-Star was not shy about sharing his desire to win at this stage in his career.

“Everybody knows, like obviously, I want to be in Atlanta. When I was drafted, that’s where I wanted to spend my whole career, but at the same time, I want to win. So if we’re not on the same page and all, I want to win right now.

I mean there are times teams want to take their time and be slow with the winning process and it’s just like, I’m not there anymore. Like I want to win, and I’ve always been that way. I don’t feel like I have very much time to waste, and so I just want to continue to play at a high level and I feel like I can do that and play at a high level and win.”

The Lakers are in a similar situation. LeBron James is still their best player, but cannot play at an elite level forever. He played 2,504 regular season minutes this season. The most ever played by someone over 40 was John Stockton at 2,349. He retired in 2003 at 41 years and 21 days old. King James is no stranger to making history, but he cannot be this good well into his 40s.

The purple and gold are committed to winning. They won their 17th championship in 2020 and just made the conference finals last season. The Lakers will continue to maximize their roster to get victories, which is exactly what Young wants at this stage of his career.

The Hawks must make changes this summer. They reached the conference finals in 2021, but have been unable to replicate that success. Young led them to two straight first-round playoff exits before losing in the Play-In Tournament this year. The Dejounte Murray trade has not worked as planned and it is time for Atlanta to break up their star backcourt.

Young is an elite shot-creator and scorer, but his defense is well below average. LA was 16th in defensive rating this season and will likely slip further if they add the three-time All-Star guard. Young likely replaces D’Angelo Russell, who is a below-average defender too, but at least D-Lo has a size edge.

Trae Young does not move the needle for the Los Angeles Lakers. They will be stuck fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference and likely get bounced in the opening round. It is no diss on Young. The Lakers must find a move that improves their play on both ends, but it won’t be easy. Rob Pelinka has work to do and must get it right or he could be on the chopping block next.

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