Grizzlies Starter & Pistons Sharpshooter Emerge as Lakers Trade Fits

wayne ellington

Getty Wayne Ellington guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Los Angeles Lakers have plenty of time before the March 25 trade deadline but it’s never too early to start thinking about upgrading the roster. The Lakers don’t really have any glaring holes right now. They were able to fix a lot of their shortcomings in the offseason.

That said, the team is likely to at least poke around to see their option before late March gets here. Certainly the Lakers, like every team in his pandemic season, could use some added depth. Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report believes that Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson and Detroit Pistons guard Wayne Ellington are potential fits for the Lakers.

“Anderson would give the Lakers a playmaking forward off the bench who can defend multiple positions, and Ellington is knocking down 37.0 percent of his threes for the Detroit Pistons this season,” Swartz wrote. “The Lakers don’t have any critical needs and should simply be looking to add depth.”

The Lakers are in a good spot right now but it would be wise to see what’s out there.

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Anderson or Ellington a Better Fit?

Anderson is now in his seventh season in the NBA and has earned a starting spot with the Memphis Grizzlies. He’s currently averaging 12.9 points and 7.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, which are all career-highs. He’s not much of a shooter as he only averages 31.5% from the 3-point line over his career.

However, he’s a capable defender and solid scorer. Still, the Lakers are developing Talen Horton-Tucker and he is hard-pressed to get minutes–it’s hard to imagine Anderson would see a lot of minutes if he got traded to the Lakers.

Kyle Anderson tallies 18pts, 11reb Double-Double! vs Charlotte Hornets | NBA 2020-21 SeasonSee full highlights of Kyle Anderson as he makes it look too EASY dropping his second double-double of the season with 18 big ones and 11 boards, along with 5 assists, 2 steals and a block on 47% shooting (7-15 FG; 2-2 FT) in 29 minutes of play in the Grizzlies 108-93 road win over…2021-01-02T03:07:54Z

 

Ellington, though, is currently in his 12th season in the NBA. He’s played for nine different teams, including a brief stint with the Lakers in the 2014-15 season. Ellington is a career 37.9% 3-point shooter and would give Los Angeles some more firepower. He’s more accustomed to a bench role than Anderson so that would likely make him a better fit. He’s only started 169 of 687 career games in the NBA.


Lakers Could Also Explore Free Agency

It won’t be particularly easy for the Lakers to make a trade. They don’t have many assets and they also don’t have cap space. If the team is planning on adding more pieces, it’s likely to be in free agency. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA could soon allow teams to add expand the roster. It’s unclear what the roster expansion might look like right now but it’s possible that teams would at least be able to add one more two-way player to the roster.

If that’s the case, the Lakers will look at their options. Right now, the market is pretty thin but the buyout market could look strong after the trade deadline. Los Angeles could look to bring back a familiar face like JR Smith or Dion Waiters. Neither man had much of a role during the NBA’s restart in he Orlando bubble last season, but both were good guys in the locker room and brought a lot of energy to the bench.

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