Proposed Trade Has Lakers Landing Former Top-10 Pick From Rival

Rob Pelinka, Lakers

Getty Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka faces some difficult decisions as the NBA trade deadline approaches.

The Los Angeles Lakers are limited in their potential options for deals ahead of the NBA trade deadline given their current roster construction. If the Lakers do pull off a deal, it is likely going to be for additional role players, unless they make a drastic decision on Russell Westbrook.

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley believes the Lakers should explore bringing back a familiar face as one of their top potential trade targets. The Lakers have consistently been linked to Damian Lillard, but it is guard Ben McLemore that could make some sense for a potential reunion.

“The Lakers probably blocked themselves from making major moves when they dumped their remaining resources into the Russell Westbrook trade, but the one exception would be dealing Talen Horton-Tucker once he is trade eligible in mid-January,” Buckley detailed. “…It’s far more likely L.A. can only pursue deeply discounted players, so fliers on Terence Davis and Ben McLemore might be the best it can do. Neither is doing much at the moment, but Davis has shown three-and-D chops before, and McLemore has historically shot the three at a decent clip.”

McLemore has not exactly lived up to the expectations that he entered the league with as a standout Kansas player. The Kings selected McLemore with the No. 7 pick in the 2013 NBA draft. While far from a star, McLemore has been able to carve out an NBA career for himself as a solid rotational player.

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LeBron Was a Big Fan of McLemore

McLemore appears to be stuck at the end of the Blazers bench with only five appearances so far this season. The veteran guard is averaging 3.8 points while shooting 35.7% from the three-point line in limited action.

The Lakers signed McLemore late last season after he was released by the Rockets. McLemore provided a solid spark off the bench averaging eight points, 1.6 rebounds and shot 36.8% from long range in 21 games.

Los Angeles could use additional shooting, and McLemore is a solid enough threat as a career 36.3% three-point shooter. McLemore had the support from his Lakers teammates during his brief L.A. tenure. James took to Twitter to praise McLemore after he posted 17 points while draining five threes against the Nets.

“He will be heard LOUD & CLEAR!!” James tweeted on April 11, 2021. “B Mac Daddy Young Strappy, No he ain’t the OG gangsta, yes he is!”


McLemore Signed a One-Year Deal With the Blazers

The Lakers will have more opportunities for potential deals once December 15 hits as players like McLemore who signed new contracts this offseason will be eligible to be traded. Los Angeles will also be able to deal their own players who were signed as free agents. McLemore is on a team-friendly one-year, $2.3 million contract with Portland, per Spotrac.

The asking price for a player like McLemore is expected to be minimal, but the Blazers may be reluctant to do a deal with a team they view as another Western Conference contender. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was very complimentary of McLemore during his time in Los Angeles.

“I’m very confident of what he brings to the table,” Vogel explained during a May 8 press conference. “You know, he’s either making shots or bringing the defense with him because he carries that threat. He brings that gravity to the floor and we’re confident in what he brings to our team.”


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