Three Possible Trades for the Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James signed a four year, $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer with the vision of a championship in the seasons to come. The team followed this move with a few one-year deals. LA is reserving as much cap space for the 2019 offseason, while simultaneously trying to remain competitive.
However, putting so many eggs in next summer’s basket may be unwise. With reports that Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, etc. aren’t looking to join the Lakers in July, it would be smart for LA to consider bolstering its roster via trades. Here are three possible trades that the Lakers should explore:
Option 1: A minor move brings an old friend to LA
LAL receives: G Brandon Knight, F Carmelo Anthony, 2019 Second-round pick
HOU receives: SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
This trade may be minor in scope, but it makes sense for both franchises. LeBron has expressed his interest in bringing Carmelo Anthony to the west coast, and the Rockets have been linked to Caldwell-Pope in many trade rumors. KCP is only averaging 9.1 points per game on 40.7 percent shooting, but Houston is interested in placing him alongside James Harden and Chris Paul regardless.
Adding Brandon Knight would make the salaries align, and slapping a second round pick onto the package leads Los Angeles to pull the trigger. This is a low-risk, medium-reward deal for both teams; Houston gets a potential 3-and-D guard off the bench and LA adds depth while not taking on any long-term financial burdens.
Option 2: Los Angeles breaks up young core to add an all-star point guard
LAL receives: PG Kemba Walker
CHA receives: PG Lonzo Ball, SG Josh Hart, 2019 First-round pick
With Kemba Walker becoming a free agent this summer, the Lakers won’t have to sell the farm to acquire the eight-year veteran. However, they will have to part ways with Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.
The word out of Charlotte is that the Hornets will make a strong push to re-sign Walker, but his remaining $12 million contract creates a prime opportunity. He is currently averaging career-highs in both points (25.1) and assists (6.3) per game.
Overlooked because of the mediocrity of his setting, he would provide an immediate scoring option and another dimension to the Lakers’ roster. Adding this year’s first round pick finally persuades Charlotte to move on from Kemba and look toward the future.
Option 3: Sell the farm to get a superstar
LAL receives: F Anthony Davis
NOLA receives: SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, PG Lonzo Ball, SF Brandon Ingram, 2019 & 2021 First-Round Picks, 2020 Second-Round Pick
The Lakers would most likely have to sell the farm to acquire arguably one of the league’s best players. Unfortunately for the Lakers, time is not on their side. Boston will be able to make a better offer in the offseason, and New Orleans is in no hurry to rush into a trade.
Here, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would be used a salary filler, but NOLA has expressed interest in the six-year guard out of Georgia. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are intriguing pieces, but Los Angeles will look to keep Kyle Kuzma. Including two first rounds and a second round pick, may be enough to persuade New Orleans to change their roster landscape. However, Kuzma may have to be included for this deal to be accepted.
The Lakers have the ammo to swing for the fences. Certainly Davis and LeBron would be able to challenge the Warriors. It’s the type of move the Lakers are no doubt pondering.