A disappointing end to the Los Angeles Lakers season has led to plenty of speculation about what the team will do to improve their roster this offseason. With no cap space and few tradeable assets, the Lakers are going to find it challenging to land a third star.
This has not stopped fans from hoping the Lakers could go big-game hunting for another superstar like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal. During an interview with Chris Mannix and Howard Beck on The Crossover podcast, Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike threw a bit of cold water on the Lakers’ chances of landing a player like Beal or Lillard this offseason.
“Even if you wanted to trade for Bradley Beal, getting the $30 some odd million dollars is tricky,” Woike explained. “It’s not an easy thing to do. That trade starts with KCP and Kyle Kuzma at $26 million. That is the foundation of that trade if Montrezl Harrell opts in. Those are the three pieces you have to make the math work. I don’t think that’s palatable for Washington, I would guess not. Look, if you want to trade the draft rights to some seven year old right now, which are sort of the first-round picks the Lakers have to trade. Every year that comes by, they get one more draft pick in 2029 that they can try to move or something like that, and you lightly protect that. That might get you into some conversations. I don’t think that gets you into a superstar now conversation when there are other teams out there that are also on the precipice of winning who need to make moves, who have better assets. It’s just, you’re in a weird spot.”
Kuzma & Caldwell-Pope Are the Most Tradeable Lakers
Woike pointed to Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as the Lakers’ most tradeable assets. The challenge for the Lakers is what either player could net them in return in a potential deal. It would not be a star like Lillard or Beal as some have speculated.
“If you want to take Kyle Kuzma and use him as a piece to get a more proven shooter, you could maybe do that,” Woike noted. “That seems like an option or something like that. If you think you can get a player who is maybe not as effective defensively as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but who is a little more consistent of a scorer and that’s what you want. KCP is a young player on a pretty decent deal, maybe you can get that done with sort of one of these future picks or something like that. But trading for Bradley Beal or trading for Damian Lillard or any of these sort of photoshops that show up in my mentions every time any player anywhere in the NBA speaks, it’s going to be tough. I don’t know how they would do it unless it was some sort of, again, complete, ‘I’m only going to one team and I’m only signing there’ kind of tampering palooza, type of a situation.”
Beal Will Likely Be a Free Agent in 2022
Speculation about Lillard’s future heated up after the All-Star posted a cryptic Instagram message following the Blazers’ first-round exit in the postseason. Lillard would need to demand a trade for the Blazers to even consider dealing their franchise player. As for Beal, the Wizards star has a player option that if exercised would make him a free agent after next season.
“Ultimately, I’m in control,” Beal told ESPN. “I think that’s my biggest thing. People are going to report whatever they want, but I know where my mind is and I know if it’s not coming from the horse’s mouth, then it’s going to be rumors. I expect them. S—, they’re starting now. So it doesn’t change anything. I guess it’s going to increase a lot more this year with me going into the last year of my deal, but for me, I’m just relaxing, resting my body and we’ll evaluate all that when summer comes.”