The Lakers have to go to the trade deadline and make a major move.
But that can only happen if the team’s ownership and general manager can find a way to keep the center they love, Jeff Teagree, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The Lakers are a team that needs to find an end to this losing streak.
They have lost five straight and have lost four in a row since they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.
The team’s worst loss was by 15 points against the Utah Jazz on Dec. 5, 2017, but Teague is expected to miss this game because of a sprained left ankle.
He played the entire fourth quarter.
Teague was one of the key pieces in the Lakers’ run to the NBA Finals last season.
He led the league in scoring with 29.9 points per game and was the league’s top scorer with 26.4.
He is entering his fourth season in the NBA.
The 26-year-old has never been a starter.
He’s a free agent and will become a restricted free agent in the summer.
The Lakers are expected to make a big push to keep Teague, who will make $10 million in the final year of his contract, according to The Associated Press.
They also are considering trading the 30th overall pick in the 2018 draft to get Teague.
The trade deadline is Feb. 3.
Teague’s departure would make the Lakers a team with one of three teams in the Western Conference with playoff aspirations: the Utah Grizzlies, Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers have won the last two meetings with the Lakers, winning by six points in the 2017-18 season opener in Los Angeles.
The Grizzlies are 3-5 since Teague was traded.
The Jazz, meanwhile, are 2-9 since Teagrees departure.
The NBA’s last team to win three consecutive games in the playoffs was the 1995-96 Utah Jazz, who won three straight before losing in six games in New Orleans.
The Kings were eliminated in the opening round in the 2014 playoffs.
Teagree is one of only two players in NBA history to score at least 20 points in each of his first six seasons.
He was acquired from the Utah Mavericks in exchange for center Scottie Pippen.