That’s according to former 10-time All-Star and NBA champion Paul Pierce.
The Lakers are expected to end a five-year playoff drought this year although their post-season involvement is far from certain having gone 3-5 during LeBron’s period of current absence.
The four-time MVP went off hurt against the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day with a groin strain and has yet to return.
But even with LeBron, the Lakers are not expected to be serious players come playoff time given the competition in the Western Conference.
LeBron – who recently turned 34 – is tasked with turning the franchise’s fortunes around having slipped out of contention in the West but is the only current All-Star on the roster.
That has seen the Lakers linked with a whole host of big-name free agents for the coming offseason like Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard as well as potential trade targets such as Anthony Davis.
The Lakers’ front office have held off on making trades which would break up their young core of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart so far but with time slowly but surely running out on LeBron’s peak form, they could forced to recruit another superstar-calibre player to boost their championship charge.
And Boston Celtics icon Pierce thinks that the Lakers will decide to sacrifice some of their assets in the near future to surround LeBron with another major talent.
Asked if the Lakers’ trade rumours were something, nothing or everything Pierce told The Jump on ESPN: “Everything. LeBron’s window is a short window.
“He only signed a four-year deal, he’s hurt this year, missed more games than ever with injury.
“I think the panic button has got to get hit pretty soon here. If not this year, definitely next year.
“They can’t strike out in this next couple of years so it’s everything.
“They’ve got the talent, guys like Kuzma and Ingram can make a move.
“You’ve got to take advantage of this LeBron window.
“Sometimes it’s not the major things, all these little things add up as you get older.”
ESPN expert Amin Elhassan, meanwhile, added: “[The trade talk is] Something. We know that if certain trade targets – I won’t say who so I don’t get hit with a tampering charge! – become available, then, ‘Yeah, we’re throwing everything and the kitchen sink [to do it]’.
“What I like about Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson is that they’ve always had a very pragmatic approach.
“‘Do we have a real chance at upgrading our roster? Yes, let’s do it. No? We’re not going to panic and go all-in on something that may not be a difference-maker’.”