The Los Angeles Lakers raced out of the blocks in the trade market. As they agreed a deal in principle with the Oklahoma City Thunder for guard Dennis Schroder. With Danny Green and the 28th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft going the other way.
In terms of other moves that the Lakers can make in the trade market, they’re limited. With the franchise giving up a haul of player and future draft assets to the New Orleans Pelicans in the summer of 2019. This was in a move to acquire superstar Anthony Davis.
However, here are 3 players for the Lakers that can keep them active on the trade market.
Kyle Kuzma is the last of the young core remaining in Los Angeles. The 25-year-old was highly-anticipated to become the Lakers’ third scorer, alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but that didn’t really materialize. Resulting in Kuzma being on the receiving end of a lot of criticism throughout the title-winning 2019-20 campaign.
Although, he did adapt his game to impress in other ways. Primarily on the defensive end. After all, a drop in the production does make sense from Kuzma. Given his fall to the bench and decrease in touches with two superstars on the team.
Even though his contract for the 2020-21 season is just $3.5 million, Kuzma still holds value. He’s relatively young and is coming off a championship win. In the 9 games that he started for the Lakers last season, he averaged 20.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. Evidence that his scoring touch is still there if his role within a team is increased.
His name alone doesn’t seem too appealing in trade scenarios. But JaVale McGee’s $4.2 million player option, which he will most likely take, is what could see him included. Pair that with another player, or a host of players, the Lakers’ outgoing salary in a trade can shoot up.
Production-wise, McGee is a high-energy, two-stint player. Standing 7-foot tall, he can run the floor well and crash the boards, adding solid interior defense. The Lakers didn’t play the 32-year-old for the majority of the 2020 playoffs, but in the regular season he was effective in the first and third quarters of games.
It looks like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is going to opt-out of his $8.4 million player option for the 2020-21 season. Reports have been suggesting that he will test free agency. There is a high chance he could head back to the Lakers. However, he could be an interesting sign-and-trade candidate.
Caldwell-Pope will probably see a 50% increase (or so) to his contract. With his market probably commanding $12 million-plus. If he signs a multi-year, guaranteed deal with the Lakers, and selects his desired location, a sign-and-trade scenario could ensue.
Why would he do that for the Lakers? Well, he doesn’t have to, at all. But he is a Klutch Sports client, along with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and it could be beneficial all-round. KCP secures the multi-year bag, as does Klutch Sports, and the Lakers can package his rather large salary in a trade. Like the Milwaukee Bucks recently did with the Sacramento Kings for Bogdan Bogdanovic.
After all, the Lakers have been overpaying Caldwell-Pope, since 2017. For the majority of his tenure with the purple and gold.