The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a disastrous season in which they missed the playoffs and fell short of all expectations. The collection of talents never meshed and resulted in a frustrating season for the entire organization. As the franchise attempts to right the ship in order to contend while LeBron James remains on the team and playing at a high level, this has become a crucial offseason. LA has taken steps in the right direction by landing Patrick Beverley in a deal to help change the attitude. However, there is still work to be done. Here are two more trades the Lakers should do everything possible to make occur and improve their chances of competing.
2. Get rid of Russell Westbrook
Lakers Get: Gordon Hayward, Mason Plumlee
Hornets Get: Russell Westbrook, 2023 second-round pick, 2026 first-round pick
Getting rid of Russell Westbrook's contract is a necessary evil of this offseason for the Lakers. While Westbrook is far from the only issue for LA, his inefficient shooting and hectic style of play do not translate to team success effectively. He also is set to make $47.1 million this season which is the second-most across the entire NBA. It will take additional assets to convince a team to trade for the former MVP, but attaching a first and second-round pick is worth it for the Lakers.
For the Hornets, this trade would provide the franchise with an additional $31.5 million in cap space for next offseason with LaMelo Ball still on his rookie deal. Gordon Hayward has struggled to stay healthy during his time in Charlotte. He has played just 93 games in the two seasons he has been with the team. With him still owed $61.6 million over the next two years, this would be a worthwhile move from a financial aspect for the Hornets. Mason Plumlee is a solid NBA big man but the Hornets have spent first-round picks on big men the past two seasons (Mark Williams and Kai Jones). He also does not likely have a long-term future with the team for this reason. Flipping these two costly veterans in order to open up cap space would benefit the Hornets greatly.
While the health concerns would not go away upon coming to Los Angeles, Gordon Hayward would be a much cleaner fit within the team when he is on the court. Expect him to serve as a key contributor and help space the floor around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The franchise is certainly at a stage where they should be looking to sacrifice talent for fit, and this would increase the Lakers' chances of winning next season in a major way.
1. Give Cam Reddish a Shot
Lakers Get: Cam Reddish
Knicks Get: Kendrick Nunn, 2025 first-round pick swap, 2027 second-round pick
Cam Reddish is no stranger to being traded as he was sent away from the Hawks last season in exchange for Solomon Hill, a protected 2022 first-round pick, and a 2025 second-round pick. Now less than a year later, he may be hoping to be on the move again. The former 10th overall pick desires a larger role and is not getting one in New York. In the 15 games he spent with the team last season, he played just 14.3 minutes per game which is the fewest in his career.
While the speculation that he requested a trade has been shut down by Reddish, he still could benefit from a clean slate. The Duke product would provide the Lakers with a skill set that they need and would be a worthwhile addition. There are concerns that he may never be content with his role and simply not the quality of player he believes he is, but Reddish has an NBA skillset that could be better utilized. The 6'8″ wing is athletic, plays decent solid defense, and carries potential as a spot-up shooter. If the Lakers can get him to accept his role and grow into a rotational wing piece, this move would prove very beneficial.
The cost of Kendrick Nunn and limited draft capital is a small price to pay for the type of talent Reddish could still prove to be. He remains just 23 years old and in need of a true opportunity to prove what he can do. It was a somewhat surprising move when the Knicks did trade for Reddish, as there does not seem to be a major commitment to him from the organization. The Philadelphia native has shown some intriguing flashes but is in need of a larger opportunity to truly prove what he can do. The Lakers could absolutely provide this and count on Cam Reddish to provide some important rotational minutes in the 2022-23 season.