Regardless of what happens to the Los Angeles Lakers this season, they’re going to likely try to add a third star this offseason. There are a lot of big names the team could pursue but they gave up most of their best tradeable assets when they acquired Anthony Davis. With a lackluster free agent pool this year, the team could try to trade for a mid-level star.
Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report believes that the Lakers could trade Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a 2023 second-round pick to the Boston Celtics for 2017 All-Star Gordon Hayward:
The 30-year-old small forward looked like his former All-Star self this season, averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 50.0 percent from the field. He would join a starting lineup with LeBron James at point guard and slide over to become a primary ball-handler when the 35-year-old needs a breather.
For Boston, Kuzma would fill a need at power forward. The 25-year-old averaged 20.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists and shot 36.0 percent from three in his nine starts this season. Green and Caldwell-Pope (if he picks up his $8.5 million player option) would be terrific backups behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and a future second-round pick would help increase Boston’s trade assets.
There Would Be Big Risk Trading for Hayward
Giving up Green, Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope and a pick is quite a lot for Hayward. Perhaps after the 2017 season, he’d be worth that haul but he’s not the same player anymore. He’s missed a lot of time due to injury over the last few years and hasn’t been playing in the playoffs for the Celtics right now.
The best ability is availability and Hayward isn’t always available. He’s a more reliable scorer than any of the three players Swartz is suggesting the Lakers trade and would definitely be a really good third option for the team when healthy. However, his big contract coupled with his injury history would certainly bring a lot of risks.
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Do Lakers Need a Third Star?
While there’s a lot of talk about how the Lakers need to add a third star, that isn’t necessarily the case. Sure, it would be nice if they could add a player like Chris Paul or Victor Olapido but they can definitely win without them. LeBron James and Anthony Davis form the NBA’s best duo. The collection of role players around them are not bad.
Now, there has been a trend where the best teams have three stars. The Golden State Warriors had three and four during their recent run of titles. LeBron had three stars during his title seasons in Miami and Cleveland. This year, there aren’t any teams with big threes but it could happen next year. If the Warriors or the Clippers land Giannis Antetokounmpo, then the Lakers need to add a third star. However, until another team builds a superteam, Los Angeles doesn’t need to worry about it too much unless a great opportunity presents itself.