The Los Angeles Lakers are the betting favorites to land three players at the NBA trade deadline.
The purple and gold are favored to be the next team of DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Bogdan Bogdanovic, per Sportsbetting.
The Lakers are interested in trading for DeRozan and Vucevic, league sources told Heavy Sports. However, it’s unknown if the Chicago Bulls have made either All-Star available in trade talks.
DeRozan signed a three-year, $85 million contract with the Bulls in August 2021 as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the San Antonio Spurs, while Vucevic agreed to a four-year, $100 million contract with the Orlando Magic in July 2019. DeRozan is making $27.3 million this season and Vucevic is earning $22 million. Vucevic becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Bogdanovic, who plays for the Atlanta Hawks, signed a four-year, $72 million contract in November 2020. The swingman is making $18 million this season and has a player option for next season worth the same amount.
How Can the Lakers Get DeMar DeRozan & Nikola Vucevic?
The Lakers could trade Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and their prized draft picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Bulls for DeRozan and Vucevic. That deal is eligible to be made under CBA rules. Both Westbrook and Beverley become unrestricted free agents this summer, so the Bulls could be interested in the veterans if they decide to enter a rebuild and tear down the roster.
DeRozan is averaging 25.9 points this season while shooting 51.0% from the field. The California native was an unrestricted free agent during the summer of 2021 and took part in meetings at LeBron James’ house. DeRozan thought he would sign with the Lakers, but things changed after Los Angeles acquired Westbrook from the Washington Wizards.
Meanwhile, Vucevic is averaging 17.8 points and 11.2 rebounds in 2022-23 while shooting 52.4% overall and 35.9% from beyond the arc. The Lakers believe they can compete for a championship with a starting lineup of Dennis Schroder, DeRozan, James, Anthony Davis and Vucevic, league sources told Heavy Sports.
How Can the Lakers Get Bogdan Bogdanovic?
Under CBA rules, the Lakers could trade Lonnie Walker IV, Damian Jones, Wenyen Gabriel, Troy Brown Jr., Max Christie and Austin Reaves to the Hawks for Bogdanovic. However, that trade probably won’t happen since it would leave Los Angeles with only nine players on the roster. The Lakers and GM Rob Pelinka would have to get creative to acquire DeRozan, Vucevic and Bogdanovic.
Bogdanovic is averaging 15.0 points this season while shooting 42.9% from the floor and 36.9% from 3-point land. Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported on February 3 that the Lakers could have trade interest in Bogdanovic.
Los Angeles is only 25-29. If the season ended today, the Lakers would not qualify for the play-in tournament despite James averaging 30.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.1 assists.
“Well, I mean for me it is challenging, but I’m 10 toes down so I understand that once I show up to work, or once I show up to the job description — and that’s being a leader of the ballclub every single day — there’s no me on what my mindset is,” James told ESPN’s Michael Wilbon on February 6 about how this season has gone. “My mindset is how we can be great today and how we can maximize today for either the next game, for the next road trip, for next film session, for the next practice, for the next bus ride, plane ride. Like, I have that mentality of if we can maximize today, then it makes the next challenge that much more easy for us.”