Potential Trade Targets For The Lakers

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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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(Image/Mark Sobhani/NBAE/Getty Images)

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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Trade Options For The Lakers


Most Laker fans seem satisfied with the season so far, despite starting 2-5, the team have improved considerably finding themselves lurking in the midpoint of the Western Conference playoff picture, within touching distance of top spot. Regardless of this, fans do have an eye on prospective trades to improve the roster further. It appears that the Lakers hierarchy may be having similar thoughts, too.

December 15th is the important date and is the date that it seems every NBA fan has been waiting patiently for. This is when players who were signed in summer free agency are eligible to be traded. Trade rumours and speculation have been spiraling over the past few weeks, and whilst many names have been linked to join the Lakers, some have been touted as potential trade chips. One name, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, seems to be the centerpiece of any trade rumour, mainly due to his flexible 1-year $12 million contract.

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It seems that Caldwell-Pope may be open to a move away from Los Angeles, as reports suggest that his representatives are working to find the 25-year-old a better situation as he aims to secure a lucrative long-term contract in 2019 free agency. The Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets have been named as possible destinations for Caldwell-Pope.

A trade may be looming, with multiple names rumoured to be joining the Lakers. I am sure more will be associated in the forthcoming weeks as we fast-approach the New Year, although for the time being we are going to review some of the names touted to join forces with LeBron James in Los Angeles.


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Trevor Ariza

As first reported by ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski earlier on in the week, former Laker Trevor Ariza could be a possible option via a three-team trade. The struggling Pheonix Suns will not be short of choice when it comes to moving the 2009 NBA Champion, as contending teams look to bolster their rosters. However, it is evidently clear that Pheonix will be looking for assets in return.

Ariza would be a welcomed addition to the Lakers, bringing a veteran presence to the team. As a defensive wing with length that can drain the three-pointer, many can see why the 33-year-old could contribute to a Lakers team that desire to make noise come playoff time. In almost every scenario, Caldwell-Pope would be included for salary purposes, possibly to the third team, as Ariza is on a 1-year $15 million contract. The question remains, what further assets would it take to tempt the Suns to part ways with Ariza?


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John Wall

I’m not too sure where to start with this one. A few weeks back, it was rumoured that the Lakers had offered numerous young assets and draft picks for the 28-year-old point guard of the Washington Wizards. Apparently Lonzo Ball, Caldwell-Pope (for obvious reasons) and a third player believed to be out of Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma, had been involved in trade discussions.

Undoubtedly, Wall is a star player and could potentially fit well alongside LeBron James, although Wall is in the final year of his current contract ($19.1 million) before a huge $170 million extension kicks in. The extension, strongly considered the worst contract in the NBA, will lock him in until 2023 and see Wall being paid $47.3 million at 32-years-old.

Washington look in disarray at the moment and are potentially looking to rebuild, therefore a trade centered around the Lakers’ young assets and draft picks would be appealing for the Wizards. On the other hand, the Lakers may not be willing to break up their young core to take on Wall and that enormous contract.


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Bradley Beal

Staying with the Washington Wizards, their star shooting guard Bradley Beal may be a more sustainable option for the Lakers. Much like the John Wall speculation, to get Beal to Los Angeles would most certainly involve breaking up the young core, with future draft picks being included also. Beal has two more years remaining on his current contract beyond this season, that will see him being paid $27.1 million for the 2019/20 season and $28.7 million in his final year.

Obviously, Beal is a more appealing option financially and is still only 25-years-old. This move would provide the Lakers with a much-needed shooter and could be deemed more of a long-term option for the team. Beal has a much broader market than Wall, so if the Lakers come knocking, they’ll most likely not be the only team.


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Kemba Walker

Now this one would be a great fit. Not many reports have specified that the Lakers are interested in the Charlotte Hornets star, but he could be an option for sure. Walker is having a fantastic season so far, averaging 25.8 points per game, 4.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.4 steals. In the closing stages of games, the Lakers have been heavily reliant on LeBron James, signing Walker would immediately solve that issue.

Walker is in the final year of his current contract and becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so the Lakers would not have to give up as much asset-wise as the options noted above but would need assurances of Walker signing long-term. Although, this trade would under most circumstances involve giving up a young asset, at the very least. Is it worth pulling the trigger to acquire a player of Kemba Walker’s pedigree?


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Anthony Davis

The thought of this one has most Laker fans drooling. A generational talent, Davis would certainly involve clearing house as the majority of the young core would be moved on, along with veterans to match salaries and numerous draft picks.

Earlier this month, a trade scenario was reported by Brandon Robinson that included three teams, the Lakers and Pelicans along with the Orlando Magic. It was reported that Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Caldwell-Pope would be the players involved, with the Lakers asking for Elfrid Payton or Ian Clark in return. In regards to draft picks, Robinson reported that “next year’s first-round pick is involved and most likely multiple picks”.

Rob Pelinka is apparently working on numerous trade packages to acquire Davis. Who, if he was to be acquired, would make the Lakers a contender moving forward and a legitimate threat to the Golden State Warriors. However, the Pelicans currently have the 25-year-old under contract until 2021 and are not forced to part ways with their superstar unless Davis states his intent to play elsewhere.

Obviously, apart from Trevor Ariza, all of the above scenarios are dependent on whether Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka want to keep the young core intact and whether they want to remain with cap flexibility going into 2019 free agency. A free agency period which boasts names such as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and so on.

What do you think? Let us know on Twitter over at @lakersfanclubuk.

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)