Potential Trade Targets For The Lakers

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(Image/FanSided)

The Los Angeles Lakers are flying high at the top of the Western Conference, at present time. But that doesn’t stop rumours circling as the team are in need of another guard option, as well as a wing presence.

With the trade deadline fast approaching (February 6) and with the Lakers being, well the Lakers, speculation is running wild. Assets held by the purple and gold were demolished when Rob Pelinka and Co, this past summer, executed a trade to acquire superstar Anthony Davis. Kyle Kuzma appears to be the bait dangled in any trade packages speculated.

A recent report from Sam Amick of The Athletic states that the Lakers front office are entertaining offers for Kuzma. Later in the report, Amick suggested that this appears to be Pelinka doing his due diligence. Fans have been frustrated with the performances of Kuzma, who has had an injury-hit, inconsistent season so far, as he struggles to find his place on this now title contending Lakers team.

His trainer recently outing LeBron James in a social media rant certainly doesn’t help matters either. But apparently James and Kuzma’s relationship is intact according to various reports.

Plenty of trade options have been suggested in the media, which will be included in the round-up that follows:

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(Image/Rick Scuteri/Associated Press)

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Marc Stein of The New York Times tweeted on January 6 that the Sacramento Kings are among the teams interested in Kyle Kuzma, according to league sources. Stein went on to suggest that the Kings are aware that they would have to include 27-year-old guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, for starters, in any deal.

Bogdanovic is a ball-handling guard who can finish at the rim, and can be lights out from beyond the arc, on his day. He also has the ability to share the ball and create for others. So far this season, he is averaging 14.5 points, 3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.1 steals, on 42.6% shooting, 38.3% from 3.

A later report from Sam Amick did hint that the Kings aren’t interested in a Kuzma-Bogdanovic trade straight up, hinting that the salaries aren’t even close. Bogdanonic is on a $8.5 million contract, Kuzma is on $1.9 million.

Jason Jones, who is a Kings reporter for The Athletic recently tweeted that Sacramento would have to be “blown away” with an offer for the 27-year-old sharpshooter and are content with his up-coming restricted free agent status.

But then, a recent report from Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times stated that the Lakers General Manager has “initiated a call” with the Kings to “gauge interest in Kuzma”.

It appears that a lot of work would need to be done to get a deal for Bogdan Bogdanovic over the line, especially with his $8.5 million contract. But he would very much fill a need for the Lakers, and would he be a better fit than Kuzma? Some think so.

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Davis Bertans

Another name linked with the purple and gold, is 27-year-old Latvian, Davis Bertans. This is only his 4th season in the NBA, but Bertans is slowly making a name for himself, especially for his antics from 3-point land.

Currently with the Washington Wizards, Bertans is shooting at an impressive 43.4% clip from beyond the arc. This is the 9th best conversion rate in the entire league. Throughout his 4 seasons, he is a 41.1% shooter from 3. That’s exactly what the Lakers need, right?

Well, it appears so. NBC’s Chase Hughes recently reported that multiple teams were interested in acquiring the services of Bertans, despite the Wizards wanting to re-sign him this summer. The teams mentioned were; the Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and of course, the Lakers.

There has been no mention of what would be included in a potential deal, but with Davis Bertans being a guard, being a sharpshooter, and having a breakout season, he certainly fits the mold for what the Lakers are looking to add to the roster.

In terms of contract status, his is currently on an expiring $7 million deal.

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D.J. Augustin

This was one of the first names linked with the purple and gold via the trade market, D.J. Augustin of the Orlando Magic.

Heavy.com reported the Lakers’ apparent interest in the 32-year-old guard, suggesting that they have “inquired about a number of veteran point guards to help upgrade their backcourt”.

Former number 1 pick, Markelle Fultz seems to have revived his career in Orlando and has a strong hold in the starting line-up. Consequently, the Magic may be open to parting ways with Augustin.

With that, Augustin would certainly fit the bill with what the Lakers currently require. For starters, he’s a guard. He’s also a 3-point threat, a 38% career 3-point shooter. Additionally, he converts at a solid rate from the free-throw line.

Much like Bertans, D.J. Augustin is on an expiring $7.2 million contract.

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Robert Covington

Another need for the Lakers, aside from the backcourt, is out on the wing. This is where the Minnesota TimberwolvesRobert Covington comes into the frame.

Covington has been on the lips of Laker fans before the rumours starting circling. In an official capacity, it was ESPN’s Bobby Marks that first reported a potential package of Kuzma, Quinn Cook and DeMarcus Cousins as a proposal for Covington. But it wasn’t made clear if that would be enough for Minnesota to part ways with the 29-year-old forward.

Here’s the thing, while he would be a much-needed presence on the wing, Covington is an average career 3-point shooter that puts up basic numbers. He does rebound well but his numbers are similar to that of a “struggling” Kuzma this season.

Plus, he is currently within a 4-year, $46.8 million contract that will see him get paid $11.3 million this season, $12.1 million next season and $12.9 million the following.

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(Image/Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Marcus Morris

As we entered 2020, the New York KnicksMarcus Morris emerged as a potential trade option for the Lakers. Alongside city rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, SNY’s Ian Begley suggested that the purple and gold were monitoring the market for Morris, doing their due dilligence.

The 30-year-old versatile forward is having a career-high season in points per game (19.1). He’s converting at an impressive 46.9% rate from beyond the arc, also a career-high. He can play both forward positions effectively and can be a spark off the bench, much like during his time with the Boston Celtics.

Marcus Morris fits the bill and more for what the Lakers are looking for, in a wing presence. This season he is red hot and them shooting numbers off the bench are Lou Williams-esque.

However, as with all of the above options, the contract poses a problem. As Morris is on an expiring $15 million deal. Many pieces would have to be moved in order to match salaries and complete a move.


Will the Lakers make a trade? Maybe, maybe not. It’s hard to say at present time given the success that the team is experiencing.

Tania Ganguli on January 10 stated that the Lakers are listening to trade offers for everyone, except LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Although, Ganguli added that Rob Pelinka and Co are not actually desperate to make a trade, unless the right deal comes along before the February 6 deadline.

Kyle Kuzma has stepped up in recent games, against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks, too. Dropping 36 points in the prior, and 26 in the latter. Being instrumental in picking 2 road victories, in the absence of star Anthony Davis, and LeBron James as well against the Thunder.

In fact, in the last 10 contests, Kuzma is averaging 17.6 points and 4.6 rebounds, on 44.5% shooting, with impressively less than 1 turnover per game.

Should the Lakers even part-ways with the 24-year-old to begin with? Possibly not. Or maybe other pieces of the Lakers’ roster could be packaged together and moved? It’s all a jigsaw at present time, but one that should become more clearer as February approaches.


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Get to Know Frank Vogel, the Lakers’ 27th Head Coach

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On the 13th May, after reports starting circling days prior, the Los Angeles Lakers officially announced the signing of Frank Vogel as the franchise’s 27th head coach. Although the terms were not announced, it is believed that Vogel has signed a 3-year deal.

“We are excited to add Frank Vogel as the next head coach of the Lakers. Coach Vogel has a proven track record of success in the NBA Playoffs, and he reflects the core qualities we were looking for in a head coach – including, detailed game preparation, extreme hard work, and holding players accountable to the highest basketball standards.”

Rob Pelinka

“I am very excited for this opportunity to join the Lakers, a prestigious organization that I have long admired. I look forward to coaching such phenomenal talent and bringing my strategic vision to the team.”

Frank Vogel

After his graduation from Kentucky in 1998, Frank Vogel’s career began with the Boston Celtics where he served as a head video coordinator under head coach Rick Pinto, of whom he worked under at Kentucky. In 2001, Vogel was promoted to an assistant coaching role, a role he held for 3 years before joining the Philadelphia 76ers, as an assistant also.

Between 2005 and 2007, Vogel did hold two ‘advance scout’ roles. With the Lakers between 2005-2006 and with the Washington Wizards between 2006-2007. From here, he then landed another assistant coaching position, this time with the Indiana Pacers.

In 2011, Vogel found himself as the interim head coach of the Pacers, mid-season. He guided the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2006, with a 20-18 record, but lost in the first round. Shortly after, he was officially named as the Pacers’ head coach. In his first full season in charge (2011/12), Vogel led the team to a 42-24 record and to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, where they fell to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Vogel took the success of the team a step further, making the Eastern Conference Finals for the following two seasons (2012/13 and 2013/14), with 49-32 and 56-26 records, respectively. On both occasions, the Pacers lost to a LeBron James-led Miami Heat. Off the back of such success, Vogel signed a two-year extension. However, the following campaign saw Paul George miss the majority of the season due to injury, which lead to the Pacers missing the playoffs based on a tiebreaker with the Brooklyn Nets.

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The Pacers did return to the playoffs in the 2015/16 season, with a retooled roster, but fell first time out to the Toronto Raptors in seven games. Following the season Vogel’s contract was not renewed. He did depart the franchise holding their record for all-time NBA wins.

Frank Vogel did endure a short tenure with the Orlando Magic between 2016 and 2018. This proved to be unsuccessful as Vogel could only post season records of 29-53 and 25-57. This leads up to present time, as Vogel was not employed in a coaching capacity for the 2018/19 season.

Over 8 seasons, Vogel has a regular season record of 304-291 (.511) and a playoff record of 31-30 (.508). His hiring will provide a defensive boost to a team that underwhelmed defensively last season. Vogel’s Indiana Pacers team led the league in defensive efficiency twice and were consistently in the top-10 during his five-and-a-half seasons there.

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Historically, Vogel’s teams have struggled offensively but if the front office surround LeBron James with more 3-point threats, Vogel can look to structure a space-and-pace system which may work well.

A worrying factor is that Vogel is coming off a 54-110 tenancy with the Orlando Magic, before being relieved of his duties. His time in Orlando was deemed a disaster and his reputation certainly took a hit. There were probably many factors that contributed to his failure however, the fit obviously didn’t work, the franchise was among a rebuild, as well as questionable personnel moves.

It was a chaotic, puzzling process that lead to Frank Vogel’s hiring, although it is a fresh start following Luke Walton and his questionable decision making. Vogel obviously possess proven quality and has experienced success in the NBA. Laker fans are best off getting behind their man until he gives them a reason not to. We wish you the best of luck, coach Vogel!

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)

Could Moves Be Made For Terrence Ross, Wayne Ellington?

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Many think that the Lakers should pull the trigger on a trade for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis, although acquiring Davis would most certainly mean clearing house and relinquishing future flexibility. Future flexibility referring to the maximum salary slot currently available for the summer of 2019, circa $41.6 million. Money that could be used on a free agency class that boasts names such as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and so on.

Would it be worth giving up numerous young players and assets to acquire a generational talent in Davis, who down the line will be eligible for a ‘super-max’ contract (up to 35% of the salary cap)? Some think so, some think not. It appears that President of Basketball Operations, Magic Johnson and General Manager, Rob Pelinka want to maintain financial flexibility to take a punt on the loaded 2019 free agency period. In the hopes of landing a second superstar.

Both Magic and Pelinka have made it public and stressed the importance of the Lakers remaining patient, trusting the process, with the aim of long-term success. However, if this is the case, this should not prevent the Lakers from improving the roster further this season by bringing in talent on expiring deals. After missing out on Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards, the front office may be shopping around to add wing depth.

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Terrence Ross: 

The 27-year-old of the Orlando Magic is currently averaging a career-best 13.3 points per game, off .436% shooting. Whilst adding some vital scoring from three-point land, Ross’ strong play this season could very well make him an appealing addition for Magic Johnson and Pelinka.

Orlando Magic are competing for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference at present time, as a result it may take a high price to persuade Orlando to part ways with Ross mid-season. The former top-10 pick is on a $10.5 million expiring deal and fits the criteria for bolstering the current roster whilst maintaining salary cap flexibility.

Terrence Ross is certainly an intriguing piece that would fit well in Los Angeles, but the expectation remains that Ross could be out of the Lakers’ range.

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Wayne Ellington:

Another scenario being thrown around is a possible reunion with sharpshooter, Wayne Ellington, who represented the Lakers during the 2014/15 season. The 31-year-old is a near career .400% three-point shooter who may sit as a more realistic option.

Ellington is averaging 8.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists for the Miami Heat this season and has found himself in and out of the rotation throughout December, due to personal reasons and more recently, illness. There is no doubt that the Heat guard could be a more viable option for the Lakers acting as a floor spacer alongside LeBron James. Various reports have suggested that a 1st round draft pick is what the Heat desire to move him on via trade.

Much like Terrence Ross, Wayne Ellington is currently signed to an expiring $6.2 million contract, which fits the measure of maintaining the Lakers’ long-term plans. Is it worth parting ways with a 1st round draft pick to bring Ellington back to Los Angeles before the upcoming February 7th trade deadline?

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Other names on expiring contracts linked have been the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Taj Gibson and the Brooklyn Nets’ DeMarre Carroll. There is no doubt that more names and trade scenarios will be reported between now and the trade deadline, as the Lakers look to strengthen their roster to make a serious playoff push.


By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)