Want to give the author direct feedback? Follow @DevonWithersTAH on Twitter for more insight.
According to multiple sources, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to add a second superstar before the February 7th Trade Deadline. In return, it has been rumored that Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Rob Pelinka are willing to depart from a combination of youth players such as Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, or Kyle Kuzma at the right cost.
This is a franchise with playoff aspirations, and according to the camp of LeBron James, there may even be a coaching change on the horizon. While candidates such as Anthony Davis and Bradley Beal are not realistic at this time, who can Los Angeles reel in towards the deadline?
5. Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies)
Could the brother of Los Angeles Lakers NBA Champion Pau Gasol be available for trade? Technically speaking, the Memphis Grizzlies are shopping Marc Gasol. In addition, his expiring contract makes him attractive to playoff suitors such as the Lakers.
However, while the surface of the Lakers’ front court looks weak, Javale McGee and Ivica Zubac combined are averaging 25.7 points per game over the last 3 outings. There is no true elite starter when it comes to the power forward or center position, considering LeBron James’ absence, but giving up draft picks and youthful assets at this stage for Gasol seems excessive at this stage.
4. Terrence Ross (Orlando Magic)
The Los Angeles Lakers clearly are in need of shooters, and Terrence Ross provides an immediate upgrade in that department. His 37.8 3P% ranks 2nd among qualified players on the Orlando Magic, trailing only Nikola Vucevic.
While the Lakers are reportedly desperate for just about “any shooter” who is on an expiring contract, Ross seems like one of the more durable options. In comparison to other trade options in Wayne Ellington and Jeremy Lin, Terrence Ross is just a better overall shooter.
The Lakers are focused on adding a “superstar”, but Terrence Ross is an affordable and manageable option to finish the season. The Magic would not look to deplete the Lakers young core, but I believe the Lakers will focus on name value towards the deadline, and Ross doesn’t create any buzz for Los Angeles’ starting lineup.
3. Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies)
According to ESPN, the Memphis Grizzlies are shopping their most valuable assets in Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. In terms of Conley, the guard position happens to be a major need for Los Angeles. Yes, the Lakers have a variety of point guards at hand, but how many healthy ones? Rajon Rondo recently returned from a broken finger, while Lonzo Ball is rehabbing a sprained ankle over the next several weeks.
Conley, 31, is back to averaging over 20 points per game, and provides a veteran presence for any locker room he is part of. While a majority of his contract is guaranteed for the season, cap space doesn’t currently concern the Lakers front office.
It will take a hefty price, as the Lakers would almost certainly depart from Lonzo Ball in the process. Would Los Angeles give up on its youth in order to pick up someone who limits the front office’s free agency options this summer?
2. Dennis Smith Jr (Dallas Mavericks)
A scenario in which Dennis Smith Jr. is traded to the Los Angeles Lakers seems likely at the right price. Aside from Los Angeles, other suitors for the point guard includes the New York Knicks and Orlando Magic.
Smith Jr is scheduled to make $3.4M this season, but a player-for-player swap will not occur. According to sources, if the Dallas Mavericks are giving up Dennis Smith Jr, they will also look to deal Wesley Matthews as part of a package deal. In result, the Lakers would be forced to give up multiple players. According to reports, the Lakers are looking to centralize the deal around Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Moe Wagner, Lance Stephenson, or perhaps Michael Beasley.
The belief is that there is very little progress made towards a deal in which Dennis Smith Jr. winds up in Los Angeles in February, considering the Lakers are particularly selective about who is “valuable” enough in return for larger assets in Ball, Ingram, and/or Kuzma.
1. Trevor Ariza (Washington Wizards)
The largest need for the Los Angeles Lakers happens to involve 3-point shooting, as they currently rank 29th in 3P%, and 19th in 3-point shots made. Having played with the Lakers in 2007 and 2008, this would be a reunion worthwhile.
The 33-year old was essential to the Houston Rockets playoff run in 2018, and there was actually a previous incident in which Magic Johnson refused to trade Josh Hart in exchange for Ariza. In result, Ariza signed with the Washington Wizards.
If Ariza found his way back to Los Angeles, statistically speaking, only Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson would hold higher 3P%’s than the veteran. With an expiring contract at hand, this may be the most realistic deal for the Lakers.