The Los Angeles Lakers have been the subject of many trade rumors this season. Whether it’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, Derrick Rose or somebody else, the team seems interested in adding some major talent. The rumors have mostly surrounded ball-handlers, but this latest one has them targeting an elite defender. According to Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal, the Lakers are among the teams that are interested in a trade for All-NBA defender Robert Covington:
“A rapidly escalating arms race for this star role player is pitting the league’s elite against each other. As much as the Minnesota Timberwolves want to keep him, they’re a longshot to make the playoffs, and this might be the time to maximize their return on Covington. He has no shortage of suitors. The Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks, Rockets and 76ers are among the teams that have expressed some Covington interest, according to people familiar with the matter. Before they can battle for a championship, they have to bid against each other.”
According to Teamrankings.com, the Lakers already have the third-most efficient defense in the NBA. Adding Covington would only help those numbers. If the Clippers land Covington, they might have the most impressive collection of defense talent in recent memory. Covington, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have all made the NBA All-Defensive Team in recent years. If anything, the Lakers should go hard after Covington for that reason alone.
Robert Covington Talks Trade Rumors
There are very few players who are safe during trade season and that’s not lost on Covington. He knows that there are several top teams trying to acquire him.
“It is,” Covington said about if it was awkward being involved in trade rumors, via Cohen. “It shows that you’re a valuable player within this league.”
Though he’s never going to be an elite team’s best player, he could be the difference between a championship run and a failed playoff run.
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Wolves Have a Lot of Leverage
Unfortunately for the Lakers, the Minnesota Timberwolves know how badly teams want Covington, so they’re not going to make it easy. Here’s what Cohen had to say on the matter:
“The Wolves are negotiating from a position of strength, though, and there’s likely to be sticker shock over how much it will cost if Covington does get moved. But league insiders aren’t surprised that he’s in such demand.”
It would definitely take Los Angeles trading Kyle Kuzma to Minnesota to make it happen and could take even more. The Lakers have very little draft capital left and that significantly hurts there chances of landing Covington. If for some reason, Minnesota values Kuzma very highly and they’re willing to make an even swap for the two, then the Lakers should do it. However, that seems unlikely. Perhaps general manager Rob Pelinka could figure out a way to sweeten the deal. Regardless, what the Lakers are doing right now is clearly working as they lead the Western Conference. Adding a talent like Covington would be nice, but there could end up being cheaper options on the market.