The Los Angeles Lakers have been expected to make a deal since the offseason, but stood pat for some time before finally pulling the trigger on a move last week. The Lakers sent guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks to the Washington Wizards for forward Rui Hachimura, adding some length in their frontcourt.
While the deal does address a need for the Lakers, it does not make them championship contenders which remains the ultimate goal for this franchise. And with the trade deadline approaching, the Lakers could still have some moves to make.
The NBA trade deadline comes on Feb. 9 at 12:00 pm PT and the Lakers still have some trade pieces should they choose to make another move.
In terms of players, the most notable is Russell Westbrook and his $47 million expiring contract. A contract that large would require multiple players to come back in return, but it is the biggest asset the Lakers have in terms of money. Many teams love to take on expiring salary at the deadline in order to clear out cap space in the offseason.
Aside from Westbrook, the other expiring contracts the Lakers have at their disposal are Patrick Beverley and Lonnie Walker IV. Beverley’s deal is worth $13 million while Walker’s comes in at just under $6.4 million. They could potentially be packaged together if the Lakers finf a player or multiple players around the $20 million range they feel could help.
There have been rumors floating around that the Lakers would like to upgrade from Beverley, who has been up and down this season. Though he has played better recently, Beverley has struggled to find his shot much of this season and that contract is enough to bring back a solid player, perhaps one with more youth.
Walker has been a solid contributor for the Lakers as well this season but could be moved if L.A. felt it was necessary to bring in another player who is a better fit.
In terms of draft picks, it is well known that the Lakers have their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks available to trade. The front office has been adamant that they won’t deal those picks unless the trade makes the team a real contender so all eyes will be on whether or not they decide to part with one or both of them.
The Lakers also have four second-round picks available to deal as well. The team has its own second-rounders in 2023, 2025, and 2027, as well as the less favorable of second-rounders between the Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies in 2024. It’s reasonable to think the Lakers will hang onto that 2024 pick considering that is when LeBron James’ son Bronny could be draft eligible.
Despite already swinging one deal, the Lakers still have plenty of assets at their disposal in order to make another move. It could be another smaller move on the edges of the roster or a massive move to bring in a big-name player. Regardless, the Lakers will be one of the most-watched teams in the NBA until the deadline finally passes.
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