The Los Angeles Lakers continue to be linked to a number of NBA big men including Andre Drummond and P.J. Tucker. According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, the Lakers preference would be to sign Drummond if he receives a buyout from the Cavs, but Kings center Hassan Whiteside is the team’s backup plan if the Cleveland big man goes elsewhere.
“The Los Angeles Lakers are monitoring the developments of the Sacramento Kings’ seldom-used rim protector, league sources told Yahoo Sports,” Haynes detailed. “If the defending champs strike out on landing Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, then Whiteside would be a nice contingency plan.
Prior to this year, Whiteside posted six straight seasons with a double-double. Whiteside has been used sparingly by the Kings this season averaging 8.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 14.6 minutes per game in his 23 appearances. Whiteside is just one season removed from putting up 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks as the Blazers starting center.
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Whiteside & Drummond Are Reportedly on the Lakers’ Wish List
Drummond’s $28 million salary makes is nearly impossible for the Lakers to acquire the center in a trade. Los Angeles’ only chance of landing Drummond is if he receives a buyout. The Los Angeles Times reported that NBA executives linked the Lakers to Whiteside, Drummond and JaVale McGee.
“Rival scouts and executives believe the Lakers are looking for upgrades in their frontcourt,” the Los Angeles Times detailed. “Obviously, Cleveland’s Andre Drummond would be high on their wish list if bought out. Rival executives have wondered if the Lakers could either try to add Sacramento’s Hassan Whiteside or maybe even reunite with JaVale McGee if the former Laker gets bought out and becomes a free agent.”
The Lakers reuniting with McGee is complicated as the team would need the center to be traded to another team then receive a buyout. Under league rules, the Lakers cannot directly trade or sign McGee.
Whiteside is on a team-friendly one-year, $2.3 million contract with the Kings, per Spotrac. It will be worth watching what the Kings are able to land for Whiteside in a trade.
LeBron Is Not Pushing the Lakers to Make a Deal Before the Trade Deadline
LeBron James has been known to be vocal around the trade deadline if he believes his team’s roster needs more firepower. James recently unveiled a different strategy expressing confidence in the Lakers’ current roster.
“I’m not in the mindframe as far as what needs to happen as far as our roster,” James noted, per USA Today’s Mark Medina. “For us, what needs to happen is we want to play better basketball with the group that we got. I believe in every guy in our locker room & every guy that hits the floor.”
The Lakers have until the March 25th trade deadline to make a deal for Whiteside or another player. Given the team’s salary cap constraints, the Lakers are expected to be more active in the buyout market than they are at the deadline.