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Report: Lakers placing ‘emphasis’ on acquiring defensive wing at trade deadline

After the injury to Jarred Vanderbilt, the Lakers are reportedly emphasizing trading for a defensive wing to help replace his production.

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Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

In a microcosm of the Lakers season, their most recent back-to-back wins in Boston and New York have had a cloud over them. Jarred Vanderbilt’s injury in the win over the Celtics looks more and more likely to cost him his season, leaving a huge void for the Lakers to fill.

A unique player that was finally rounding back into healthy form, Vando’s injury hurts on multiple fronts. For one, it effectively means a lost season for Vanderbilt after his heel injury kept him off the court for much of the season and resulted in him playing through pain even upon his return.

For the Lakers, it leaves them in a pickle. Vando’s skill set can not be replicated, which is both a gift and a curse. The Lakers were often at their best when he was at his best, but it means when he isn’t available, the Lakers struggle to fill that void.

But they’ll have to navigate this situation in the week before the trade deadline. Predictably, the team is looking across the league for players to help fill the void left by Vando’s injury and, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, that has become their focus (emphasis mine).

The Lakers clearly need to establish a semblance of consistency with their performance, energy, effort and playing rotations. At the same time, they likely need to make a trade or two. The team is putting a greater emphasis on adding a defensive wing by the trade deadline, according to team sources. The issue, of course, is that every team could use another wing. Prospective prices are high.

While no names are attached to this, some of the names that were already linked to the Lakers fit this bill.

Bruce Brown could become an even bigger target, if that’s possible, from the Raptors. There will likely be competition for him, but the Lakers have long had their eyes set on him, dating back to the offseason. Both the Nets duo of Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale make sense as well and have been players the Lakers have reportedly had interest in.

The issue the Lakers are going to run into, as I’m sure they’re aware, is that they aren’t going to find someone who completely replaces everything Vando did. But the team will need someone to boost them going forward if they are to make a legitimate push this season.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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