The Los Angeles Lakers’ main priority for the 2022 offseason will be finding a capable 3-and-D wing, which they badly lacked last season.
L.A. put a lot of faith in NBA veteran Trevor Ariza, hoping the forward could handle some of the more difficult defensive assignments alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James. However, the plan backfired, leaving the Lakers exposed on defense — and playing a major factor in the team’s 2021-22 failures.
Considering the Purple and Gold’s almost non-existent cap space availability, the front office will need to show a tremendous business acumen to bring in a defensive wing this summer, one of the most sought-after players in the league. However, Heavy.com writer Sean Deveney reports the Lakers could make another attempt at acquiring their long-term target, Toronto Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr.:
One Eastern Conference executive weighed in: “The pick is the key thing, if the Raptors think that pick is going to be valuable, and it might very well be, then it makes some sense. Horton-Tucker and Nunn, you assume he is going to play again and be a pretty good bargain. The Raptors like Horton-Tucker, remember they wanted him in the Kyle Lowry deal that fell through with the Lakers. It is hard to say what kind of future Trent is going to have there, if they’ll pay him. So if they can get assets back now, it is something to explore.”
Trent Jr. has just put up the best season of his career, averaging 18.3 points, 2.0 assists, and 1.7 steals in 70 games for the Raptors in 2021-22. Besides his input on the defensive end, the 23-year-old shot 38.3% from deep during the last campaign.
Although the Purple and Gold have been adamant about keeping their future first-round picks, they would likely consider including them in a trade if a chance to sign Trent Jr. appeared on the horizon.
Meanwhile, reports claimed earlier this year that Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn’s market value could be higher than expected.
Lakers could acquire 2022 second-round pick from Hawks or Pistons
Among other goals for the summer, the Lakers are still looking to buy their way into the second round of the 2022 NBA Draft. In order to do so, they could try to do business with the Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons, who are believed to consider their second-rounders available for trade.
The Lakers still have $4.7 million in cash they can use to acquire a 2022 pick.
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