Ambitious Trade Proposal Nets Lakers a Versatile Big Man

John Collins

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to drive against John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks.

The Los Angeles Lakers won’t have a ton of resources to pull off a meaningful trade this offseason but one potential option is Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins.

Collins has had an interesting relationship with the Hawks, who inked him to a five-year, $125 million extension in 2021. He’s been a significant figure in trade rumors, although the Hawks have ultimately decided to hang on to him despite the scuttlebutt.

If the Hawks decide to start shopping Collins, the Lakers could be a potential suitor. The 25-year-old big man was listed as an ambitious trade target the Lakers could pursue this offseason by Bleacher Report.

“Collins is a distressed asset, which makes it hard to call him an ambitious target. His three-point shot abandoned him this year, and he has yet to prove he can survive as a small-ball center. But if Los Angeles wants someone who can sop up frontcourt minutes so Davis and James can rest next season, he’s a better candidate than anyone currently under contract. Plus, the 25-year-old isn’t far removed from a two-year stretch from 2019-20 to 2020-21 in which he averaged a combined 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 40.0 percent from long range.”

The Lakers have a package that would work for Collins, who will make a little more than $25 million next season. LA could package Malik Beasley (16.5 million) and Mo Bamba’s $10.3 million non-guaranteed salary.

Lakers Would Like to Build Around New-Look Roster

The Lakers reshaped their roster at the deadline, which helped the squad turn things around and make a run to the Western Conference Finals. Lakers general manager went as far as to call the moves “pre-agency,” meaning that guys like D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura were players they hoped to keep beyond this season.

“I think a deep dive into this, you can almost look at it as ‘pre-agency,'” Pelinka told reporters in February. “We very intentionally planned these moves to provide optionality in July. … It really is an exciting time, I think, for Laker Nation.”

It might be a different story for Beasley, who has fallen out of the rotation and hasn’t played a single minute against the Nuggets. Bamba has played sparingly with the Lakers and is still nursing an ankle injury that has kept him sidelined since April 28.

Lakers Focused on Shifting Momentum in WCF Against Nuggets

The Lakers are hoping the offseason is still a ways off and that they can extend their improbable playoff run. After starting the season 2-10, the Lakers have made it to the Western Conference Finals, knocking off the No. 2 seeded Memphis Grizzlies and defending champion Golden State Warriors.

But the Nuggets have not made things easy, taking a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference Finals matchup with the Lakers. LA has a chance to hold serve with the next two games at home but can’t afford to fall behind 3-0.

“What you take out of it is the fact that this is not the NCAA tournament. The first team to four wins,” LeBron James said after losing Game 2. “Until a team beats you four times, you always have an opportunity to come out of it. So that’s the confidence that we should have.”

The Lakers are a 5.5-point home favorite for Game 3 at Arena on Saturday.

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