Lakers Trade Pitch Would Move Austin Reaves & 3 1st-Round Picks for Superstar

Los Angeles Lakers, Austin Reaves, Lauri Markkanen

Getty Austin Reaves navigates a screen as the ball handler.

The Los Angeles Lakers have had a quiet offseason but still have Austin Reaves and other assets to trade if they’re interested in finding a third star to pair with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. In a proposed trade from Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, the Lakers would be doing just that, sending Reaves, two first-round picks, and a first-round pick swap to the Utah Jazz for superstar Lauri Markkanen.

Lakers would get: Markkanen

Jazz would get: Reaves, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Maxwell Lewis, 2029 first-round pick, 2030 first-round pick swap, 2031 first-round pick

“Options are limited based on both who’s available and whom this club could realistically afford. Markkanen might come closest to scratching both itches.

“He needs a new deal between now and next summer. Combine that uncertainty with the fact Utah is nowhere near contending, and that might be enough for the Jazz to let him go,” Buckley wrote on July 10. “This is a premium price to pay—it’s all the good trade chips L.A. has—but Markkanen is a premium talent. He has twice flirted with 50/40/90 shooting rates while averaging north of 23 points. He’d be an effortless fit (and wildly efficient) as a third star next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.”

Reaves Is Only One Year Younger Than Markkanen

The idea of keeping Reaves around makes sense from the Los Angeles Lakers perspective. He’s only 26 years old and has shown the ability to be an above-average player on a team searching for a championship.

While he might not be a second or third option like Markkanen, he still averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.5 assists last season. The Lakers shouldn’t just trade him for an older player who might not be the missing piece, but moving him for Markkanen could be one of the situations where it’d be a great idea to do so.

Markkanen, who turned 27 in May, would give the Lakers a better player who’s just one year older. Not only would he be able to help the Lakers right now, but he could be the co-star with Davis when James decides to retire.

Markannen Would Bring the Lakers Exactly What They Need

There aren’t many 7-foot forwards in the NBA who can shoot the basketball at the clip that Markkanen can. The Finland native shot 39.9% from 3-point range on 8.0 attempts per game in the 2023-24 season.

He averaged 23.2 points and 8.2 rebounds after averaging 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds the season before.

Having that 3-point shooting to give James and Davis a player they can create for should interest the Los Angeles Lakers, as they attempted the fewest 3-point shots per game last season.

Markkanen could also take some of the weight off the Lakers’ two stars, as he’s proven with the Utah Jazz that he can create his own shot.

An NBA executive also believes in the fit, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports. Deveney reported on July 5 that an executive said Markkanen would be a “perfect” fit for the Lakers.

“There are a few teams that, when you look at it, he is going to be their dream target,” the GM said. “The Lakers, you get a guy like him with Anthony Davis, and that’s perfect for both guys.”

Read More