Update: This article was first posted on December 2nd. The Lakers are 23-27 now and projected to finish with 38 wins and make the play in. The have since made a move for Rui Hachimura that I graded here . They still need more help, although they have burned the minior assets they have to try to make it. With Anthony Davis back and LeBron James playing at the level he is, I still think they need to make a move. This is why you brought James and Davis to Los Angeles.
We have been against the Lakers trading any future assets to this point. As long as Anthony Davis appeared to be have regressed to a 20 something ranked player in the league he’s been around the last 2 seasons, there wasn’t any reason to be aggressive. That opinion is changing if Davis going to return to his previous peak form. I don’t think it’s jumping to conclusion with his previous seasons and still being at an age it can realistically be done. If he’s a top 5 player in the league as it appears now that changes the approach. They’ve already traded away so many assets to get him, that the need to use every last drop of elite level he has and go in, if he’s going to continue to play like a top 5 player.We detailed where we thought the Lakers went wrong the last few years as well as this off-season in September. That can’t be changed now, but I do think the Lakers can try to add ancillary pieces that could help Anthony Davis and Lebron succeed.
There are names that have been reportedly available, or that logically would make sense in a trade. Obviously, The Lakers should do their due diligence around the league, but most likely this would be the list, in the trade market currently or something close to it..
|Gary Trent Jr|
I think it’s obvious the Lakers most need shooting wings and guards.
Russell Westbrook, Pat Beverly, and Kendrick Nunn are the names they have reportedly shopped. All three are expiring contracts that would be valuable for the trade partners to get off off money. The trades most often talked about are Hield and Turner for Westbrook and the 2 distant future 1st. Kyrie has also been mentioned for a the same package, but that’s probably off the table with all the current drama. If you could stomach the off the court, that’s the best talent ratio that is being brought back. Lebron having played with Kyrie might even be able to reign him in a little better.
The Lakers have their 2027 & 2029 First Round Picks unencumbered. They also have a 2023 2nd round Pick from Chicago that appears to likely be top 45 at worst. They have a 2024 2nd Round Pick that will likely end up being in the 50’s from Memphis.
Gary Harris/ Terrance Ross
When it was reported that Nunn and Beverly were being shopped by the Lakers, these were the two players that made the most sense. Both Nunn and Beverly as struggling so draft assets would need to be attached. Harris is 28 years old and making 13 million for the next two seasons. Terrance Ross is 31 and an expiring 11.5 million dollar contract. They are both shooting 38+% from three, and have solid longterm track records of shooting well. The exact kind of wing shooters the Lakers should covet. The better asset of the two Harris is under contract for 2 seasons at a good number, and Ross would likely resign this offseason at something similar. I really like this trade for the Lakers they way both can shot, they don’t need the ball, and can reasonably defend. With the open spot they could sign a center like H. Whiteside or Dwight Howard.
From Orlando’s perspective, currently sitting at 5-17 and with no chance of the playoffs it’s likely they will both be moved at some point in the next 2 seasons regardless. At their ages they do not fit with what should be the long term plans. The only question really becomes what draft assets would it take to acquire them both. They will most certainly would ask for the 2027 First. If the Lakers haggled enough I think a solid 2nd rounder in this draft, and the one in 2024 might be enough. Parting with the 2027 First for players like this is too much IMO. It would have to have protections before I would do that. I think the Lakers have enough fire power as good as the 2nd rounder might be this year ultimately. Getting it in 2023 has value and I can’t see many other teams offering 1st either.
This is the only trade I would do, Beverly, Nunn, Jones and two second rounders (or a top 10 protected 2027 1st rounder) for Harris and Ross. I think it’s realistic that might be enough. If they wouldn’t trade both for those picks, I’d try to get Harris only for just Beverly and the two second rounders.
I like this trade much better than moving both first and Westbrook for players like Hield or Turner. Westbrook has now accepted a bench role and is playing well enough to help the Lakers some. His three point shooting has even been passable enough in the role he’s in. If the cloud blows over on Kyrie and the Nets start to implode again you still have those assets to potentially revisit him that again. Having those problems in LA has already become less attractive.
Gary Trent, Alex Burks, and Eric Gordan would be plan B’s, but I wouldn’t trade a future first for any of them. Trent might take a 1st at his age, although he is essentially only a rental with a player option. I believe Harris and Ross is the trade the Lakers should try to make.