Lakers Pushing for Intriguing Trade, Says Analyst

rob pelinka

Getty Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka.

The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to reload their roster to avoid another first-round playoff exit heading into next season. The Athletic’s Zach Harper suggests the Lakers are looking to package the No. 22 pick and Kyle Kuzma to add a key piece this offseason in the team’s quest for another title.

“The Lakers are in ‘Win Now’ mode with the clock ticking on LeBron James,” Harper noted. “I think exploring a trade of this pick and Kyle Kuzma for a helpful veteran is high on their priority list.”

Harper stops short of suggesting a particular target, but the Lakers could create a package to acquire a key free agent via a sign-and-trade. The Lakers have been mentioned as a potential fit for a number of top free agents including Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie and DeMar DeRozan. Without any cap space, the Lakers need to pull off a sign-and-trade to add anyone beyond their exception.

The Lakers’ Workout Visits Included March Madness Star Jason Preston

If the Lakers opt to stay at No. 22, Harper suggests the team will take a strong look at Auburn point guard Sharife Cooper. The prospect would give the Lakers a bit of insurance in case the team is unable to retain Dennis Schroder in free agency.

“Feels like Dennis Schroder is out the door for the Los Angeles Lakers, so they’re going to need some point guard depth eventually,” Harper explained. “Sharife Cooper could be the guy here, although everybody will be disappointed there was an error listing him at 6-foot-4 instead of 6-foot-1. Still, Cooper is a pretty fun talent at the position. He’s a great passer, and he can score without fear. He’s working on his jumper religiously, but it needs a ton of work.”

The Lakers are already hosting prospects for workouts with recent visits including VCU’s Nah’Shon Hyland, Virginia’s Trey Murphy III and Ohio’s Jason Preston. One area that we can expect the Lakers to address, whether in the draft or free agency, is adding more shooting to the roster.

Kuzma Recently Voiced His Displeasure About His Role with the Lakers

Kuzma is one of the few tradeable assets the Lakers have on their roster as the team can have as many as 10 free agents this summer. The Lakers forward voiced his frustration with what he considered to be an inconsistent role last season.

“My biggest thing is I just want to play within a consistent role,” Kuzma told Bleacher Report. “If I have that ability, I’ll be able to showcase what I can really do. There were parts of this year—and even anywhere else in my career—when I’m in a consistent space, I’m out there handling the ball, making teammates better, scoring, shooting, defending, rebounding. I think if I’m in that space, I’ll be good.”

ESPN’s Bobby Marks believes the Lakers could look at using Kuzma and their first-round selection in a sign-and-trade to snag Dinwiddie. The big question is what kind of contract Dinwiddie will command after coming off an ACL injury that caused him to miss nearly all of the 2020-21 season.

“For example, would Brooklyn consider Kuzma and the No. 22 pick in this month’s draft to help facilitate a Dinwiddie sign-and-trade?” Marks noted. “The $13 million Kuzma contract would add to the Nets’ substantial luxury tax bill.”

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