In a January 11 piece called “B/R Staff Roundtable: What Should Lakers Do at the 2023 Trade Deadline?” Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale proposed that the Los Angeles Lakers make a trade with the San Antonio Spurs.
Favale wrote that the Lakers should trade guard Patrick Beverley and a 2023 second-round pick to the Spurs for Josh Richardson.
“Surfing the market for real, actual wings—or any player over 6’4″—is the way to go. And while impact wings don’t typically come cheap, someone like Josh Richardson should be fairly gettable,” Favale wrote. “He is in the final year of his deal and not worth a first-rounder, yet he can defend up and down the positional spectrum and provides more of an offensive punch than many of the Lakers’ other supporting cast members. San Antonio doesn’t currently have a second-round pick in this year’s draft—which gives Los Angeles’ selection unique value—and isn’t tasked with taking on any long-term money here.
“The Spurs are basically taking on $1.4 million in salary to get what should be a higher-end second. Perhaps the Lakers balk at sending out what could be the No. 39 pick. But they have Chicago’s second-rounder to fall back on and, because Jeanie Buss cares about these things, stand to save nearly $6 million total by subbing out Beverley for Richardson—just over $4.5 million in luxury taxes and nearly $1.4 million player salary.”
Richardson is in the final year of his contract. The veteran wing signed a one-year, $12.2 million extension with the Boston Celtics in August 2021. Richardson has played for the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, Celtics and Spurs during his career. He will have earned more than $56.4 million in NBA money once this season ends.
Josh Richardson Is Better Than Patrick Beverley
Richardson is a better player than Beverley, who becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season as well. The Lakers would be more dynamic offensively if they had Richardson, and not Beverley, next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
In 31 games for the Spurs this season, Richardson is averaging 11.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 35.5% from beyond the arc and 87.5% from the free-throw line. His numbers are much greater than Beverley’s. The former Los Angeles Clippers star is averaging only 5.8 points while shooting 39.1% from the field and 33.3% on 3-pointers.
“If the Lakers don’t want to deplete their limited collection of trade assets, Richardson offers a lower-cost alternative,” Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley wrote about Richardson on January 5. “The 29-year-old is only signed through this season’s end and doesn’t fit the timeline of a San Antonio team rebuilding around…well, probably whomever it plucks from the top of the 2023 draft. It would be in the Spurs’ best interest to deal Richardson for some type of asset before the trade deadline rather than watch him leave for nothing this offseason. Richardson has never approached stardom, but he has settled in as a pesky defender with a reliable outside shot (career 36.4 percent) and some secondary playmaking ability. He could give consistently helpful two-way contributions to a Lakers club that hasn’t gotten nearly enough of them from its role players.”
Bleacher Report: Lakers Have to Make a Trade
Favale believes the Lakers need to make a trade before the February 9 trade deadline, even if it’s not a big one. The Bleacher Report insider thinks the purple and gold should keep their future draft picks in 2027 and 2029 unless a star becomes available.
General manager Rob Pelinka said during exit interviews last spring that he would be the ‘caretaker’ of LeBron James’ legacy. He then proceeded to take a dump all over the Lakers roster and, by extension, LeBron’s age-38 season. Months later, even as they’re coming off a five-game winning streak and preparing for Anthony Davis’ return, the Lakers are waaay more than one trade away from contention. So much so, in fact, it doesn’t make short- or long-term sense to trade their 2027 and 2029 first-rounders. Those must be reserved for stars, and that market, for the time being, doesn’t exist,” Favale wrote. “That doesn’t permit the Lakers to do nothing. You have to do something when LeBron is still LeBron. You also don’t get to use your own failure as a shield against chasing upgrades.”
Richardson has career averages of 12.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 36.5% on 3s during the regular season. He has appeared in 30 playoff games with the Heat, Sixers and Mavericks.