As of December 15th the NBA Trade Season is officially underway. There are still a few players that recently signed deals who cannot be traded, but the majority of the League is up for speculation. So speculate we shall! The Lakers have tons of needs but here are some of them:
- Opened Rotations
There seems to be several absolutes when it comes to the Lakers rotations.
1. If Kobe is active, Kobe gets his spot.
2. Byron Scott isn’t committed to playing the younger players.
3. Byron Scott isn’t going to change.
Since Byron isn’t going to change, maybe changes have to happen for him. Taking away Lou Williams and Nick Young should make room for D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Anthony Brown, and maybe Jabari Brown.
- Preserving Future Cap Space Flexibility
If we’ve learned anything from this past summer, it’s that free agents don’t solve everything; because the ones that you want don’t necessarily sign. However, you never know, and it’s better to be flexible than to be stuck.
- Young Talent
Seems obvious, but it’s also important to obtain talent that fits.
- Known Commodities
Obviously a single trade can’t fill every need, but all of these trades fill at least one of them. Every trade is also Trade Machine Tested and linked.
It’s no secret that the Bulls want the shake things up. If reports are true, they’re activity shopping Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah for wing players. This tweet from CBS Sports says just that:
Why would the Lakers want any of those guys? Pau has already has his run in LA and it would be brutal to force him back into this mess now, plus he’s 35.
Taj & Noah are both 30 years old (which is weird because I always thought Taj was younger), so they don’t provide young talent either. And wouldn’t they just clog up more minutes for guys like Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr, and Tarik Black?
Maybe, depending on who the Lakers sent to the Bulls, but it’s more important for rotations to be cleared for Russell and Clarkson to get more opportunities right now. Also, wouldn’t it be great to have an actual second string center?
Taj is only signed for one more season after this at $8.9mil and Noah is a free agent after this season. So they still preserve cap space, especially if the Lakers are sending Lou, Nick Young, or Bass who are signed for 2 or 3 years.
There are several options for the Lakers to acquire one or both of these guys:
Noah for Lou and Young would be the best option, if the Bulls would take it; and if the Lakers could throw in Bass and receive McBuckets in return that’d be even better. However, the Bulls probably wouldn’t part with McDermott but maybe they would send E’Twaun Moore or Tony Snell for the Lakers to give them a run.
Depending on what Chicago would accept for Taj, either of these could work. Although, without sending Bass, Taj could soil some minutes for Nance or Randle. Sadly, with the way Byron has been trending recently, it would probably be Randle… These scenarios are less preferable than acquiring Noah.
At the end of the day a combination of Lou Williams, Nick Young, and Brandon Bass might not be enough to make the Bulls pull the trigger; but who knows what could happen…
Here’s one that I think could really happen, and ESPN Insider thinks so too.
Acceding to Hoopsstats.com the Pistons are last in the NBA in bench scoring. So why not send them the reigning 6th Man of the Year and a known commodity scoring off the bench? There’s been a few fringe blogs (yeah, like this one) that has speculated a Brandon Jennings trade for the Pistons, but nothing concrete. Also, Jennings is set to return to the Pistons soon after being out for 11 months with an Achilles injury. So coach Stan Van Gundy may want to just hold tight for a while to see how he fits in his rotation.
For the Lakers it may represent the same production on the court but I’d rather have to deal with Jennings for one more year than Lou for three.
Bringing Jodie Meeks back might be tough for him to handle, but Lakers fans would accept him. Especially if it means trading a ball hawk for a spot up shooter.
The Heat, like the Bulls, have also been rumored in trades this season. Most notably by Chris Sheridan’s report…
Not sure how good of a deal that would be for the Heat, specifically if they would have to give up one or both of Justice Winslow or Hassan Whiteside. In this trade the Lakers only require the expiring contract of Loul Deng.
The Heat open up their own rotation for Winslow while gaining more benching scoring.
Same situation, another trade that would send Lou and Bass for an expiring contract, and an actual backup center. Haven’t seen anything about the Wizards shopping Nene, but their fans want them to…
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
The Lakers basically morph Lou & Nick into Eric Gordon, open the rotation for Randle, preserve cap space, and get two years of Alonzo Gee. Gee is an athletic wing that is pretty good in transition and LAL can always use athletes.
Gordon is set to become a free agent after this season so this is the ultimate “reset button” move for the Lakers’ front office and the Pelicans could almost completely reconfigure their bench.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Ok, ok, hear me out on this. I know it’s the Clippers, cross-hallway rivalry and all of that; but this gives the Lakers another “reset button” with the potential for a Lance Stephenson comeback. Obviously betting on Lance returning to All-Star caliber-form is farfetched but there’s always a chance; and in this League teams have to take risks (See: Whiteside, Hassan and Lowry, Kyle). Lance’s contract is $9mil for 2 years but the second year is a team option putting the Lakers in the driver’s seat and giving them even more short-term flexibility.
Portland is 22nd in the League in bench scoring and this trade sends a certified bench scorer and back-up ball handler for a real wing player. If it doesn’t work out, Henderson is just another expiring contract for the Lakers.
At this point I think we’ve seen everything we can from Ryan Kelly. He’s not much of a shooter for a “stretch-4” and might not be anything more on offense than some surprise dives to the basket. The Pacers need another big that won’t entirely mess up spacing and the Lakers need wings, and Solomon Hill is confirmed to be on the trading block.
In Zach Lowe’s latest podcast, The Lowe Post, Zach was talking with Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and pointed out that Minnesota’s Kevin Martin hasn’t played in the last few games because “a trade is coming there” and I think I know why.
The Timberwolves have a problem that few teams possess, they have too many wing players…what a luxury. Zach LaVine has been forced into the point guard spot because the T-Wolves have to share minutes between Martin, Wiggins, Prince, and Muhammed.
As Martin is removed from the picture and new ball handlers are brought on board, Wiggins, LaVine, and Muhammed can file into their respective spots. Huertas isn’t necessary to make the trade work, but adds a dimension for the Wolves.
Anything can happen when the Kings are involved… which seems like the perfect tag line for Hasbro’s next card game that every Homeschool family would buy. As far as the NBA Kings, this statement still remains true. Every year we say we “wouldn’t be surprised if…” and then the Kings prove us wrong. Remember Stauskas? Stauskas? Stauskas…? They sent him to the 76ers for rights to international players and ‘future draft considerations’ just 13 months after drafting him… So take these trades with the same considerations.
Ok…ok… so that might not enough to get two former lottery picks, but like I said, the Kings always seem to prove us wrong. Any of those trades involving Cauley-Stein or Butler aka Tuff Juice are extra interesting because it would reunite either Julius Randle with Cauley-Stein or Kobe Bryant with Caron Butler.
Also, wouldn’t Swaggy P be a perfect King?
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
This is my favorite trade, not only does Young give the Thunder more spot up shooting than Waiters, but Waiters is on the last year of his deal. Wouldn’t you rather have Dion Waiters for just 1 year than #Swaggy3 for 3 years?
The same works for Lou Williams if you throw in Steve Novak.
This trade probably won’t happen, but it’d be cool to see ‘the Morri’ reunited, Jennings in LA, and Lou Williams to try and replace Eric Bledsoe.
A little reset for Toronto who get Lou back, the Clippers get a real backup point guard, and the Lakers get another expiring contract.
BONUS TRADE: MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Imagine Kobe/Vinsanity and Julius Randle/Z-Bo sharing the same court. Ok, so in a basketball sense it doesn’t make sense, but it would be fun.