The Lakers reportedly have an “unnamed trade target in mind”
On top of these acquisitions lacking excitement, they couldn’t even land a meeting with highly coveted free agent Kevin Durant, who said the Lakers are still a couple years away from competing. The purple & gold faithful are not used to big-name guys overlooking them on the open market.
At this point, the Lakers’ focus should be on the offseason in 2017, and hope they can attract some of the bounty of free agent talent that’s going to be available to Los Angeles.
Instead, they’re apparently looking to make another move. From Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:
The team has held off on signing Tarik Black, Marcelo Huertas and second-overall pick Brandon Ingram, keeping an eye on what could be $13.6 million in cap room (assuming the team also waives and stretched Nick Young).
The Lakers do have an unnamed trade target in mind, but are also preserving space for another opportunistic Calderon-like deal.
“Unnamed trade target.” Take it with a grain of salt, but let’s at least ponder who they might go after.
The Lakers have been connected to the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s Russell Westbrook in various trade rumors, but nothing concrete has been reported. The thinking is that the Thunder can’t afford to get nothing in return for another superstar if Westbrook intends to walk, and L.A. might be his intended destination.
Of course, if the Lakers know Russ wants to come home to Los Angeles, why would they give up a number of prospects and picks to acquire somebody they can sign without giving up anything next summer?
On top of that, the Lakers once again have a top-three protected first round pick in 2017. Even if they trade for Westbrook, their chances of winning the title are basically zero, so there’s little incentive to sacrifice the future when the present is so gloomy.
The pick, sent away in the Steve Nash trade, is no longer protected in 2018, so they might as well get one more young stud to bolster the roster while they can. The ’17 draft class is also projected to be the best in recent memory, so they’ll have plenty of solid options to choose from.
More likely, this “unnamed trade target” is a less-marquee player than Westbrook, and if a deal is made, it will be on the more minor end of the spectrum.
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