It is clear that this Los Angeles Lakers roster, as currently constructed, is not one that can compete for a championship. Since before the season began, many have been waiting to see what deal the front office will put together for Russell Westbrook, and while that is still a possibility, it now looks as if the team is more likely to swing other, smaller deals.
On December 15, players who signed in the offseason are eligible to be traded, which increases the potential players the Lakers could acquire as well as who can be thrown in. While it has spoken as if Westbrook is the only contract that can be moved, the Lakers have other options available.
According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers have three paths they are considering, with Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn being viewed as the two contracts the team can put together to bring back better role players:
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.
Furthermore, Buha noted that the Lakers are reportedly leaning towards the latter of those options, though the team is still evaluating the roster:
The Lakers are leaning toward option No. 2 or 3 at this point, the team sources said. That would entail making a smaller move to marginally upgrade the roster while retaining the possibility of following up with a larger Westbrook deal later in the season.
The Lakers are still evaluating their roster as they near full health, with the team’s upcoming six-game East Coast road trip a potential swing factor in how aggressively the front office dangles their first-round picks on the trade market, according to a team source.
The idea makes sense, as Westbrook has found his groove as a sixth man for this team and has become a vital part of the Lakers. Meanwhile, both Beverley and Nunn have underperformed this season. Beverley has been solid defensively and has value as a locker-room leader, but is averaging just 4.2 points and shooting 26.8 percent from the field this season. Nunn had a promising preseason but has also struggled mightily since the season began averaging 5.8 points and shooting 29.1 percent from three-point range.
Most importantly is that their two contracts together are worth around $18.2 million, which is more than enough to bring back multiple role players who could address the needs of the Lakers. With both Anthony Davis and LeBron James playing at an outstanding level, improving the depth of this team and filling certain holes could give the Lakers the boost they need to be more competitive moving forward this season.
Lakers’ Patrick Beverley says he would do ‘exact same thing’ that led to suspension
Beverley only recently returned to the floor for the Lakers after a three-game suspension for shoving Suns center DeAndre Ayton. But while Beverley calls the situation an unfortunate one, he does not regret his actions at all.
The Lakers point guard went on his podcast and said that he would do ‘the exact same thing’ if he had to play that situation back, noting that he will always be there to defend his teammates and felt that Ayton was disrespectful towards Austin Reaves.