In a December 15 article called “Nine Questions as NBA Trade Season Begins,” Michael Pina of The Ringer proposed that the Los Angeles Lakers make a trade with the Houston Rockets.
Pina’s hypothetical trade had the Lakers trading Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV and some type of draft compensation to the Rockets for Eric Gordon.
“The Lakers can try to thread that needle by holding on to one of those picks and protecting the other (or bundling together a bunch of second-round picks), then attaching it to some lesser salary and making calls to some of those obvious sellers mentioned above. They’re rumored to have interest in (Bojan) Bogdanovic, but the better deal might be Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV, and some type of draft compensation for Eric Gordon, whose salary next year is non-guaranteed,” Pina wrote. “Gordon knows how to complement superstars (including Westbrook, during his final days as one in Houston), and he has playoff experience, a cannon, and the defensive wherewithal to close big games. This move wouldn’t make the Lakers a championship favorite, but Westbrook, Gordon, Austin Reaves, LeBron, and Davis is a lineup that can do some actual damage.”
Under CBA rules, the Lakers can trade Beverley, Walker IV and draft picks to the Rockets for Gordon, whose salary next year of $20.9 million is non-guaranteed. Gordon signed a four-year, $75.6 million veteran contract extension with the Rockets in September 2019.
If his 2023-24 salary gets picked up, Gordon will have earned more than $197 million in his career once the summer of 2024 hits.
Gordon Would Fit Next to LeBron James & Anthony Davis
Gordon is a career 37.0% shooter from beyond the arc, so he’s a good fit next to Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Los Angeles needs more shooters around James and Davis, as the team is shooting only 32.0% from deep this season.
Gordon is averaging 12.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the Rockets while shooting 43.4% from the field, 34.7% from 3 and 86.8% from the free-throw line. Houston is open to moving the 2016-17 Sixth Man of the Year since the franchise is in rebuild mode, league sources told Heavy.com.
As Pina noted, Gordon has tons of playoff experience. The Indiana product has career postseason averages of 16.0 points and 2.9 rebounds while shooting 36.0% on 3-pointers in 55 games. The more shooters and playmakers the Lakers can put around James and Davis, the better odds they have of winning games in the rugged Western Conference.
Lakers Should Try to Trade Beverley & Kendrick Nunn for Gordon
The Lakers, who are 11-16, should try to trade Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and a draft pick to the Rockets for Gordon and keep Walker IV, who has been solid for the purple and gold. Walker IV is averaging 15.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists while shooting 39.5% on 3s.
Los Angeles has to get rid of Beverley and Nunn, that’s for certain. The former is averaging 4.6 points while shooting just 30.3% from the field and 25.4% from beyond the arc, while the latter is putting up 5.3 points per game while shooting 35.9% overall and 27.7% from 3-point range.
Both Beverley and Nunn become unrestricted free agents after this season, so the Rockets could be interested in them since their contracts come off the books.