The Los Angeles Lakers are set to be buyers ahead of this season’s NBA Trade Deadline.
Last year, some clutch moves made by the front office right around this point in the season salvaged Los Angeles’ campaign and propelled them all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
Could history repeat itself in 2024?
Already, just in the last few days, the Lakers have emerged as one of four potential suitors for Buddy Hield, one of three teams scratching and crawling for Zach LaVine, and one of two teams in the hunt for Bojan Bogdanovic.
With Ja Morant suffering a season-ending injury this week, the Memphis Grizzlies figure to be sellers ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline.
According to Sports Illustrated, there are two deals between L.A. and Memphis worth keeping an eye on.
The first involves Marcus Smart.
“Smart, the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year, would obviously represent a massive upgrade protecting the perimeter over Russell’s turnstile approach, even though Smart has slipped on that end of the floor since his peak two seasons ago,” the report read.
“[Smart’s] $18.6 million contract would fit in nicely with Russell’s $17.3 million this year.”
What would the Grizzlies get out of this? Draft capital. More specifically, the Lakers’ looming first-rounder in 2029 or 2030. Given how the team has played over the past few seasons, and factoring in that LeBron James would be long gone at that point, there is a good chance it’d be a pretty high one.
If not Smart, Luke Kennard has also been floated as a potential option.
“The sharpshooting swingman’s $14.8 million aligns well with power forward Rui Hachimura’s $15.7 million deal,” the report noted.
“Losing the 6’8″ Gonzaga product could hurt some of the jumbo-sized Lakers’ optionality in its frontcourt, but it would behoove the Purple and Gold, one of the least prolific teams from distance in the NBA this season, to add a 38.5% long range shooter who takes 5.9 triple tries a night.”
Obviously losing Hachimura would hurt the Lakers in certain capacities, but their inability to do anything from beyond the arc is becoming increasingly problematic.
It says a lot when James is your team’s best three-point shooter. There is a reason the Lakers are kicking the tires on three potential point guard acquisitions who could really shore up their shooting woes.
One way or another, it feels like Los Angeles is going to make a move over the next few weeks.
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It could be a big move. It could be a small one.
But something is coming.
Will the Lakers and Grizzlies be able to come to a mutually beneficial agreement ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline? Time will tell.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.