With the February 9 trade deadline coming up quickly, the Los Angeles Lakers will have some very important decisions to make. If they choose to make a serious run this season, a big-time trade would likely be necessary.
Here’s an outline of a potential three-team trade with the Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Hornets that would help LA compete for a championship:
Lakers receive: Tobias Harris, Terry Rozier, Matisse Thybulle
76ers receive: Kelly Oubre Jr., Patrick Beverley, Cody Martin
Hornets receive: Russell Westbrook, Jaden Springer, 2027 1st-Round Pick (Top-3 Protected via LAL), 2029 1st-Round Pick (via PHI), 2023 2nd-Round Pick (via LAL), 2025 2nd-Round Pick (via LAL)
This deal would finally put an end to the Westbrook experiment in LA. The Lakers would dump him to the Hornets, landing three win-now pieces in the process.
Harris is on a massive contract, but he only has one year left on it after this one, and he’s a much better fit with the current roster. If the Lakers want to win, this could be a deal that would allow them to do so without giving up both future firsts. In 45 appearances this year, Harris is averaging 16.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists on 50.3% shooting from the field and 37.9% shooting from behind the three-point line.
Rozier isn’t as efficient as he once was, but he would give the Lakers an extra shot creator, and he’s proven to be capable of playing both on and off the ball. As for Thybulle, his defense could give Darvin Ham a great option on that end.
Meanwhile, the Sixers would add some solid pieces for this year, but a deal like this would also give them some extra financial freedom this summer, as Oubre and Beverley are on expiring deals. Oubre will be out a bit past the All-Star break, but once he returns, he’ll be a nice scoring threat.
Beverley would give the Sixers a pest to employ at the guard position, adding some defense there. Martin would also be a great pickup, as he’s an ideal 3&D guy when healthy and is under contract for three more years after this one at a reasonable cost.
Lastly, the Hornets would make this deal as a way to clear up their roster and add some solid draft capital in the process. They could work on a buyout with Westbrook, take a flier on Springer (or waive him), and would net two firsts and two seconds.
Lakers Linked to Jakob Poeltl Trade
While a blockbuster move such as that one could help the Lakers’ title chances, the more likely scenario is a smaller move. According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, they are one of the teams linked to a potential trade for San Antonio Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl.
“The San Antonio Spurs like Jakob Poeltl and would be happy to extend him, but existing rules limit him to $50.5 million over four additional seasons,” Pincus wrote. “Several NBA sources peg his asking price in the $17 million to $20 million range in the first year alone as an unrestricted free agent. While the Spurs can pay that, the team will have to wait until July to do so. And that may be beyond their price range, which could inspire the team to get a deal done before the trade deadline. The asking price is believed to be a first-round pick and a good young player. Teams linked to Poeltl include the Boston Celtics, Raptors, Lakers, Clippers and [Golden State] Warriors.”
Jeanie Buss Discusses LeBron James’ Frustrations
During a recent appearance on the Kow Mercy podcast with Stephen A. Smith, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss discussed LeBron James’ current frustrations with the team.
“I mean, unless he’s winning, he’s not going to be happy,” Buss explained. “That’s him. That’s what drives him. And I could see why he would be frustrated. We’re all frustrated with, you know, we’re down four starters, and he’s our only remaining starter, and he’s gotta show up and play. And, the burden’s on him.”