Photo by Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press
The Lakers are now 1-2 since Anthony Davis went down with a Calf Strain that will keep him out of action over the next month. Even before that injury, the Lakers were not the same team as the previous year when they won the NBA Title. They lack the Rondo-like playmaker off the bench for when LeBron comes off the floor, they miss the defensive presence inside of Javale McGee and Dwight Howard, and they also miss the extra wing defender in Danny Green that can take on the opposing team’s best Shooting Guard and Small Forward. The Lakers have issues and losing Anthony Davis for a month just makes these issues come to light even more, so the following 3 Trades are moves they need to make before the Trade Deadline hits.
- Lakers trade Kyle Kuzma, Wesley Matthews, & Alfonzo McKinnie to Houston for P.J. Tucker & DeMarcus Cousins.
According the Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers have been ‘Active in the Trade Market’ and P.J. Tucker is one player they’re very interested in. Although his numbers have not been great this year, it has to do with wanting out of Houston and wanting to be on a contender. Tucker has consistently been one of the best Wing Defenders in the League and is also an unreal 3-Point shooter from the corner, which is one of LeBron’s favorite spots on the floor to pass it to. For Kuzma, he would be a tough guy to let go of for LA but with the Lakers having a win-now mentality, he makes perfect sense as the guy to go back for Tucker. Lastly, he’s not what he used to be but Cousins is a big man presence for the Lakers down low that they desperately need right now. He provides veteran leadership and toughness you need off the bench for a Championship team.
- Lakers trade Talen Horton-Tucker, Quinn Cook, & a 2023 2nd-Round Pick to Detroit for Wayne Ellington & Svi Mykhailiuk.
Trading THT would upset Laker fans, but getting Ellington and Mykhailiuk would shore up not only their wing defending but also their 3-Point shooting as well. Both guys are free agents at the end of the year as well and could definitely come back as they would not cost the Lakers a ton, and for the Pistons this allows them to continue to play more young guys and they would get back a guy in Horton-Tucker who has a lot of upside, but just doesn’t bring much to the table offensively like Ellington and Mykhailiuk do right now.
- Three-Team Trade:
Lakers get: George Hill, Luguentz Dort, Jaxson Hayes, & a 2022 2nd-Round pick
Thunder get Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, & Talen Horton-Tucker
Pelicans get Dennis Schroder, a 2021 2nd-Round pick, & a 2023 1st-Round Pick (lottery protected) & 2nd-Round pick.
This is in the department of “WTF” and “Unlikely” trades department – But when it comes to winning now, we have seen crazier things happen. First lets start with the Lakers portion of the deal. George Hill gives them a better defender and 3-Point shooter than Schroder while having the playmaking ability next to Lebron and while Lebron goes to the bench for rest. Lou Dort made a name for himself last year in the bubble for his defense on James Harden in the playoffs and also his defense on Lebron earlier this year.
Dort would most assuredly provide the Lakers with elite defense, becoming their best defender they have in an instant. For Jaxson Hayes, he has fallen out of the rotation for the most part in New Orleans with the emergence of Willy Hernangomez. He is still very young and needs to be coached up, but his elite athleticism and size is not to be ignored.
Then we have the Thunder. They get a guy in Lonzo Ball having a career year and has become a very good 3-Point Shooter. Due for an extension after the year ($16-18M AAV rumored), he is the perfect guy to place next to SGA in the backcourt. Lockdown defenders in both and elite playmaking ability as well. Talen Horton-Tucker brings a presence on the defensive side of the floor, though not as good as Dort’s, but it is still very respectable. Kuzma is still young and seems to be a better player when he has the ball in his hands and gets to go make buckets.
Lastly, the Pelicans are not going to re-sign Ball for what he will command on the open market so they get an expiring in Schroder which they can either flip or buyout, and they also get draft capital which is always valuable in this league.
Also want to mention 3 buyout candidates for the Lakers to look for to help their quest for a 2nd-straight Title:
- Javale McGee – C, Cleveland Cavaliers
- Andre Drummond – C, Cleveland Cavaliers
- Trevor Ariza – F, Oklahoma City Thunder