Proposed Trade Lands Lakers $27 Million Forward & $14 Million Guard for Mo Bamba

Lakers center Mo Bamba

Getty Lakers center Mo Bamba

In a March 30 column called “Hypothetical Lakers Trades to Boost Pursuit of 2024 NBA Title,” Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report proposed that the Los Angeles Lakers trade Mo Bamba and three second-round picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kenrich Williams and Tre Mann.

“The Lakers have often run top-heavy during the James-Davis era,” Buckley wrote. “While swinging big for a star is exciting, they’d help themselves by giving more attention to their second unit. Oklahoma City could help beef up the bench—if it wanted three more second-round picks and Mo Bamba, an insurance policy for Chet Holmgren. That doesn’t sound impossible. If the Thunder bite, the Lakers should be all over this. Kenrich Williams is an all-purpose stopper who has shot better than 38 percent from three since the start of 2020-21. He can play alongside anyone, meaning he could help lead the bench or even support the stars as part of the closing group. Tre Mann is a spark plug who has impressed with volume but needs a bump in efficiency. Maybe playing off gravitational forces like James and Davis could make that happen.”

Williams signed a four-year, $27.2 million veteran contract extension with the Thunder in July 2022. He will make $6.2 million next season. Meanwhile, Mann agreed to a four-year, $14.1 million rookie scale contract with OKC in August 2021. He’s scheduled to earn $3.2 million in 2023-24.

What Do Kenrich Williams & Tre Mann Bring to the Table?

Williams has career averages of 6.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 46.8% from the field and 35.2% from beyond the arc. He appeared in 53 games this season for the Thunder before suffering a ligament rupture in his left wrist. The TCU product averaged 8.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 51.7% overall and 37.3% from 3.

Mann, meanwhile, is averaging 7.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists on the season while shooting 38.7% from the floor, 31.7% from 3-point range and 74.0% from the free-throw line. The 22-year-old has compiled career averages of 9.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting 39.0% from the field, 34.0% from distance and 77.3% from the charity stripe.

The Lakers acquired Bamba from the Orlando Magic at the trade deadline. The Texas product is averaging 4.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in seven games with the purple and gold while shooting 41.7% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc. Bamba injured his left ankle on March 5 against the Golden State Warriors and will miss the rest of the regular season.

The Lakers Could Run It Back Next Season

Jovan Buha of The Athletic told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype on March 16 that the Lakers could run it back next season, meaning the front office may bring the current core roster back.

“From what I’ve been told by my sources around the organization, they wanted to run this situation (current roster) back,” Buha said. “It’s looked good so far. They’ve won a lot of games. They’ve done a lot of winning without LeBron James. That’s something that’s kind of been under-discussed. The non-LeBron minutes were always an issue for the Lakers going back to his first year in LA and the championship season… This is my third season on the beat, and this is the best chemistry and vibes I’ve seen around the team.”

The Lakers are in seventh place in the Western Conference standings. They are 15-8 since the trade deadline. Los Angeles has four games left in the season, starting on April 4 against the Utah Jazz.

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