Lakers Urged to Trade for $89 Million Star Guard

Lakers stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James

Getty Lakers stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James

The Los Angeles Lakers have been urged to trade for an $89 million star.

In a December 8 column called “Lakers Trade Targets with 2023 Trade Deadline 2 Months Away,” Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley listed Detroit Pistons guard Alec Burks as a player the Lakers should try to acquire.

“Alec Burks turned 31 this past summer. After this season, his contract has nothing beyond a team option remaining. He obviously isn’t part of the rebuilding Pistons’ long-term plans. Ship him to Hollywood, though, and he’d immediately address a need for reliable perimeter depth,” Buckley wrote. “He may not have one standout skill, but he does a lot of different things at serviceable levels or better. He’s a 38 percent three-point shooter for his career, a willing defender and a capable secondary table-setter. The veteran wouldn’t need long to find his fit alongside (Anthony) Davis and LeBron James.”

The Lakers were interested in acquiring Burks from the New York Knicks at last year’s trade deadline, league sources told The Knicks traded the veteran to the Pistons on July 11.

Burks is making $10 million this season and will have accumulated more than $89 million in NBA money when his contract expires following the 2023-24 campaign. The 31-year-old is averaging 14.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Pistons while shooting 42.9% from the field, 38.6% from beyond the arc and 80.0% from the free-throw line.

How Can the Lakers Acquire Burks?

Under CBA rules, the Lakers can trade Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn to the Pistons for Burks and center Nerlens Noel. Los Angeles is shopping Beverley and Nunn, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

“The Lakers’ updated timeline on beginning to explore trade options is Dec. 15, and they are weighing three different paths, multiple team sources told The Athletic,” Buha wrote on December 1. “Here’s what you need to know: Path 1 is to trade Russell Westbrook, plus a pick or two, for a star or multiplayer haul. Path 2 is to trade some combination of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and picks (one first-round and/or multiple second-round picks) for role players who better address needs and upgrade the rotation. Path 3 would be two separate deals: one with Westbrook plus one first-round pick, another using a Beverley-Nunn-pick package.”

Burks has career averages of 10.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He’s appeared in 22 postseason games with the Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers and Knicks and averaged 10.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 32.3% on 3s.

Lakers Reporter Believes LAL Will Make a Trade

On Episode 8 of “That’s OD” with Ohm Youngmisuk, Dave McMenamin of ESPN said the Lakers are expected to make a trade by mid-January. Los Angeles is 10-14 on the season. McMenamin covers the Lakers and follows the team.

“Talking to people around the Lakers organization the last week or so, I am convinced that the Lakers will make a trade or trades to improve this team,” McMenamin said. “I think the figuring out period, prove it to us period has passed. They have proven it. They’ve seen Anthony Davis playing at this bubble level. They’ve seen LeBron James’ commitment on the court and off the court. And they’ve also seen some of these younger pieces have started to fit around those stars that it is worth it to trade. They’d prefer to only trade one of those two picks, but certainly, it’s worth it to trade some of the current salary that they have, attach a pick or two picks to it and get this team better. I certainly anticipate by mid-January, if not sooner, we’re talking about an imminent trade.”

Burks isn’t an All-Star, but his shooting, playmaking and scoring could help the Lakers compete in the rugged Western Conference.

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