After a disappointing loss last week to the Warriors, the Lakers bounced back with consecutive wins, first with a sterling fourth-quarter performance against the Bucks, then in a dominating romp over the Bulls. They have reclaimed the top spot in the NBA at 13-4.
Still, there will always be room to improve. And as we get into trading season in the NBA, we are taking a look at what, exactly, the Lakers have for trading chips, with players of interest like Washington’s Bradley Beal and Houston’s Victor Oladipo possibly hitting the trade block. We’re assuming LeBron James and Anthony Davis are off the table but who could be available?
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Heavy.com checked in with two league executives, one from the East and one from the West, to see how L.A.’s potential chips stack up.
Contract: 1 year, $15.5 million.
East GM: “Not a huge market for him. The Lakers did not give up much (Danny Green, first-round pick) to get him and they’re not going to get a whole lot back for him if they put him out there. He is not a bad value where his contract is, but he can sign an extension. If the price is too high, maybe you shop him. I doubt it, though.
Contract: 3 years, $39 million ($12 million this season; third season not fully guaranteed.)
East GM: “They would definitely be selling high on him if it came to that. He has been great this year, he defends, he is on a team-friendly contract and he has become a great shooter. You’re not going to trade him one-for-one for a star, but he can be a key piece in a big deal. I think they like him too much to deal him, though.”
Contract: 2 years, $19 million ($9.2 million this year; player option next year.)
West GM: “He is a Klutch guy (the agency of Rich Paul, who represents Davis and James). That kind of makes you think they won’t trade him. But they got a big-time steal on him and if they put him on the market, there would be a lot of interest. My guess is he plays out this season, tries to win a ring, then opts out and cashes in. If there is a star the Lakers could get, though, you have to include him.”
Contract: 4 years, $42.5 million ($3.5 million this season.)
East GM: “Forget it. They gave him an extension (three years, $39 million) last month and that makes it really difficult to move him. It is not a terrible contract, though, and I think they will see what is out there for him next summer once the new deal kicks in.”
Contract: 1 year, $1.5 million.
East GM: “If you are going to put together a package for any star out there, it has to start with Horton-Tucker and build out from there. He is the only young (20 years old) piece they have. If I am Houston trading Oladipo, no way I am doing that without Horton-Tucker in the mix. If they want to get a guy from a rebuilding team, every team is gonna ask for him.”
This is a problem for the Lakers if they want to add to the roster—they do not have picks to offer. They owe picks to New Orleans in 2021 and 2024 (which can be moved to 2025), plus a swap in 2023. The Lakers, then, can’t trade a first-rounder until 2026/27. They also owe their next two second-round picks to other teams.
West GM: “You know, a lot of teams mortgaged their drafts to bring in a star. The Lakers did that with Davis and now, they are where they are. Not much to offer.”