The Lakers are over-stocked in talent right now, especially with the additions of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and even Brook Lopez this year.
However, the three PF experiment doesn’t do any good to Kuzma, Nance Jr, or Randle, and the Lakers will surely have to make a few trades in order to solve that. With Randle and Lopez turning free agents at the end of the season, the Lakers will need to make sure they don’t walk out for nothing.
Moreover, they will need to off-load Deng’s contract in order to attract max-deal free agents this summer. Here are 4 possible trades that the Lakers could do before the deadline:
4. Marc Gasol
The Lakers acquired Brook Lopez in the off-season, through a trade that helped them ditch Timofey Mozgov’s insane contract. However, Lopez has been a shade of himself in a team that mostly focuses on player development. However, should the Lakers decide to create a championship team, Marc Gasol could easily be the centerpiece of such an endeavor.
They would have to send Brook Lopez, Ivica Zubac, Jordan Clarkson and a 2nd round pick in order to make that happen. The Grizzlies are in a bad run of form lately, and Marc Gasol is surely considering a trade. The Lakers would get a top-tier big man, and that could attract other top players to sign for the Lakers.
3. Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond has been spectacular so far in the season, but Stan Van Gundy would prefer a more skilled big man. The Pistons actually tried to move Drummond and Reggie Jackson last season, and despite Drummond’s improvement, a good offer could be accepted by the Pistons.
The Lakers could offer Brook Lopez, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and the future 2nd round pick in exchange for Andre Drummond. Getting a solid big man and a couple of good pieces for their bench could turn the Pistons into a team that could make a case for the NBA Playoffs (they played only once in the last 8 seasons).
However, the solid improvement to Andre Drummond’s game this season might be a bad omen for this trade, but they have 7 (yes, seven!) losses in a row and at this moment no one is safe on the Pistons’ roster.
2. Paul George
The Oklahoma City Thunder made some great additions in the off-season, but they are really struggling to find consistency. The Westbrook-George-Anthony experiment has not gone so well so far, and there is no guarantee that Paul George would commit to re-signing with the Thunder. The Lakers have the assets to make a trade happen, as they could lure the Thunder with some much-needed front-court depth.
They can offer Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Ivica Zubac in exchange for Paul George, a move that would solve problems for both teams. The Lakers would get the super-star they need, and they would create room for Kyle Kuzma and Larry Nance Jr. to develop properly.
The Thunder would get some nice additions for their bench, while Randle could even move to the starting line-up. Clarkson would be nice to come off the bench as a 6th player, while Zubac is just what the Thunder need to back-up Adams.
1. DeMarcus Cousins
The New Orleans Pelicans knew that they were trading for an expiring contract when they brought in DeMarcus Cousins last season. However, they were hoping that he would pair up well with Anthony Davis, and he has, as the Pelicans are currently sitting inside the play-off spots. However, the Western Conference is really competitive this season, and there is no guarantee that the Pelicans will actually make it to the playoffs.
DeMarcus Cousins is probably the best all-around big man in the league, and he will surely take his talent elsewhere if he feels that the Pelicans don’t have a decent shot to at least reach the playoffs. The Lakers can take advantage of that situation, but they would have to give up a lot of pieces in order to make a trade happen. Even so, they can offer Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Ivica Zubac to lure the Pelicans, and still have some decent depth. Such a move could seriously improve the Pelicans who have some very thin front-court behind Cousins and Davis. Moreover, it would be really beneficiary for the Lakers, as they would not only get a super-star on their team, but they would still retain their most talented youngsters.