With the news that the NBA could be aiming for a Christmas start for this upcoming season, the offseason is going to heat up really fast. If the NBA can pull it off, there are less than two months before games are going to start getting played. That means free agent and trade rumors should start picking up very soon.
The Los Angeles Lakers figure to be big players as they’ll be looking to defend their title. While they were the best team in the NBA last season, a number of teams will be a lot better. The Lakers won’t have an easy path to winning another championship. Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report believes that a trade for Detroit Pistons guard Luke Kennard could be an impactful trade for the team.
Kennard would instantly become the Lakers’ best outside threat as a 40.2 percent lifetime shooter from three who canned 42.2 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes this past season. At 6’5″, he can line up at shooting guard or small forward, keeping the floor spaced for LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
At 24, Kennard is still improving and will be a restricted free agent next offseason, meaning the Lakers can match any offer he receives. This wouldn’t just be a rental.
For the Pistons, getting a first-round pick in this draft and a 19-year-old guard in Horton-Tucker is good value for the team’s rebuild.
Swartz believes that the 2020 No. 28 overall pick, Talen Horton-Tucker and Quinn Cook would be enough to make the deal work.
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Lakers Do Need More Shooting
Kennard is coming off his best season as a pro. He averaged 15.8 points per game and shot almost 40% from three. That’s exactly the kind of scoring the Lakers need from players who aren’t LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
He has experience starting and coming off the bench so the Lakers could use him in a number of ways. Kennard would immediately be the best shooter on the team. Los Angeles has some decent shooters but nobody they can rely on consistently. Kennard changes that and makes the offense more dynamic. If he’s available, this is a trade the Lakers should consider.
Is Danilo Gallinari an Easier Solve?
If the Pistons don’t want to make a trade or the Lakers don’t feel like giving up assets for Kennard, there are other options. Danilo Gallinari is a free agent and he not so subtly hinted that he wants to play for a winner shortly after the Lakers won the championship.
He’s another knockdown shooter who has averaged over 40% from three over the last two seasons. The Lakers have more of a need at guard which makes Kennard a better fit. At 6’10, Gallinari isn’t playing guard anytime soon. However, all he costs is money. They wouldn’t need to trade for him. Since he’s already expressed interest in going to a winner, perhaps he takes a discount to join the Lakers. He would definitely help solve the team’s shooting woes.