Former Exec Links Lakers to All-NBA Defender Among 6 Buyout Targets

robert covington

Getty Robert Covington defending Andre Drummond.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been the subject of many trade rumors as of late but that doesn’t mean they’ll be cutting any deal. They were also involved in trade rumors during the last two seasons and didn’t pull anything off. With a lack of tradeable assets, the Lakers are better off keeping an eye on the buyout market to see what’s available.

Last year, the team picked up Andre Drummond on the buyout market. That move didn’t end up helping much as Drummond’s role was mitigated in the playoffs and he wasn’t brought back after the season. However, picking up Markieff Morris during the 2020 championship run worked out well.

Former NBA executive and writer for The Athletic, John Hollinger, believes that the Lakers will have trouble making a trade and named some players that they should look at if they get bought out:

The thing with buyout guys in general is they only become buyout guys because nobody wanted to trade picks for them at the deadline. So you’re looking at a class of player that usually is only sort of useful, especially in a playoff environment. Goran Dragić, Terrence Ross, Covington, Thaddeus Young, Robin Lopez, Bryn Forbes … that’s your bailiwick here. If the Lakers are only playing like an average team in March, none of these guys are changing that.

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Covington Could Be an Interesting Pickup

As Hollinger noted, the buyout market is typically overhyped. Players don’t get let go in the middle of the season if they’re still valuable. That doesn’t necessarily the Lakers can’t find a player who can be useful. Robert Covington is an interesting name that Hollinger mentioned.

The Portland Trail Blazers forward was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team in 2018. He hasn’t been that same level of defender since joining Portland but could still help the Lakers in that regard. The defense hasn’t been great this season and could use a wing defender. Covington would fit that mold. The Trail Blazers have consistently been one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA so that could be bringing the veteran down. Heading to the Lakers with a defensive head coach in Frank Vogel could get him to play some stout defense again.

Hollinger Believes There’s One Strong Trade Target for Lakers

While a trade will be difficult for the Lakers to make, there are some options out there. The Indiana Pacers are expected to start trading off some of their best assets this season and enter a rebuild. One player that could be realistic for the Lakers is Myles Turner, according to Hollinger:

So the name I’m left with for the Lakers is Myles Turner. He makes $18 million, so his salary works if Nunn and Horton-Tucker are outbound. He’s already signed for next season at that number, so the Lakers’ salaries won’t get too out of hand in the final $47 million year on Westbrook’s deal. Turner plays center, which allows Davis to play his preferred power forward spot, but he’s a 3-point shooter who won’t get in the way like the current Laker centers do. His biggest weakness is rebounding, but Davis and LeBron are so good on that front, it probably won’t hurt L.A.

Turner makes sense and has been linked to the team in the past. He’d be an upgrade at center over Dwight Howard and Deandre Jordan.

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