The Los Angeles Lakers will have some decisions to make over the next two weeks as the trade deadline and buyout season approaches. They have already been linked to multiple big men, including Andre Drummond, P.J. Tucker, Hassan Whiteside and Lamarcus Aldridge.
Of these four options, perhaps the most attainable is Whiteside. In his seventh full season, Whiteside has gone from an All-NBA Defensive second-team player to a benchwarmer for one of the worst teams in the Western Conference in the Sacramento Kings. It is not entirely his fault, as the Kings have Marvin Bagley III to develop. However, Whiteside is no longer what he was at his peak.
Even still, the Lakers would reportedly be interested in adding Whiteside if their pursuit of Drummond is unsuccessful, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
The Los Angeles Lakers are monitoring the developments of the Sacramento Kings’ seldom-used rim protector, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
If the defending champs strike out on landing Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, then Whiteside would be a nice contingency plan.
Drummond would be the ideal choice for the Lakers, and there is optimism within the front office that they can land him, but it’s always best to have back-up plans.
If the Lakers plan on adding a center, Whiteside would be a decent option. While he has some issues that other teams have failed to contain, there is some hope that he could take on Dwight Howard’s role from 2020. If the Lakers can work with Whiteside the way they worked with Howard, it might be a perfect fit.
Much like Drummond and most of their other targets, it’s unlikely that the Lakers would give up assets to trade for Whiteside. Even though he makes just $2.3 million, the Lakers are better off waiting until the trade deadline passes to see if they can get him on the buyout market.
With a cheap contract and having played in only 23 games this season, a buyout would be very easy for Whiteside to attain.
Lakers and Nets top options for Drummond
The Lakers’ pursuit of Whiteside very clearly is taking a backseat to Drummond. Reportedly, the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are the two top options for Drummond’s services the rest of the season, even if other contenders remain interested.
The Cleveland Cavaliers remain hopeful to find a trade for him before the March 25 trade deadline, but it will be difficult to match his big salary, making a buyout more likely.
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