Breaking News

Lakers trade deadline primer: Potential trades, targets, storylines featuring Fred VanVleet, Terry Rozier & more

The Lakers will be one of the teams in the spotlight ahead of the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. ET.

Los Angeles has its work cut out after whiffing on All-Star guard Kyrie Irving over the weekend, who was sent to the Mavericks in a blockbuster deal to kick off trade season.

MORE: Kyrie Irving trade grades | Breaking down the fit between Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic

The Lakers’ inability to land Irving has left superstar forward LeBron James “disappointed,” surely adding pressure on the front office to put championship-caliber talent around him and star big man Anthony Davis.

Los Angeles sits in at 25-29 with the trade deadline and All-Star break approaching, 2.0 games back from the Play-In Tournament and 3.0 games back from a top-six seed and guaranteed playoff spot in the West.

With playoffs within reach, what can the Lakers do to make upgrades to their roster at the trade deadline? Let’s take a look at some possible trade targets and players who could be on the move in LA.

NBA LEAGUE PASS: Sign up now to watch every game (FREE 7-day trial)

Lakers trade targets

Fred VanVleet 02032023

(NBA Getty Images)

Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr., Raptors

The Raptors are widely expected to be among the most active teams at the deadline, and VanVleet and Trent Jr. are two of the names who could be available. While Sportsnet’s Michael Grange reported last week that VanVleet wants to remain a Raptor, it hasn’t stopped his name from popping up in trade rumors.

After striking out on Irving, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha mentioned the Raptors as one of the Lakers’ “Plan B options,” listing VanVleet and Trent Jr. as two potential targets. This is an idea that The Athletic’s John Hollinger recently reported, and The Sporting News’ Scott Rafferty already broke down as a possibility for both sides.

VanVleet is averaging 19.7 points and 6.5 assists per game and would give Los Angeles some much-needed perimeter shooting. Trent Jr. also fits a need for Los Angeles, averaging 18.7 points and 2.7 3s per game on a 37.3 percent clip.

To add fuel to the rumor fire, Trent Jr. is already repped by Klutch Sports — who has plenty of clients on the Lakers — and VanVleet recently parted ways with his agent and is also expected to sign with Klutch.

Jazz package — Mike Conley Jr., Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt

In the same article from The Athletic, Buha mentioned the Jazz as a second “Plan B option” for the Lakers after missing on Irving. Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer noted that the Jazz have been packaging the trio of Conley Jr., Beasley and Vanderbilt — three rotation-caliber players that would certainly upgrade the Lakers’ roster.

While Los Angeles would have to part ways with Russell Westbrook to match salaries, it would gain two shooters in Conley Jr. and Beasley, as well as a versatile defender and high-energy rebounder in Vanderbilt.

Conley is averaging a career-high 7.6 assists per game while shooting 36.4 percent from 3, while Beasley would immediately become one of the best shooters on the Lakers’ roster, knocking down 3.1 3s per game at a 35.8 percent clip. Vanderbilt is a Swiss Army Knife who would help bolster Los Angeles’ defense, averaging 8.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

Terry Rozier, Hornets

The Hornets were listed as another “team to watch” for the Lakers, according to The Athletic. That lines up with Yahoo Sports’ report of Rozier being a possible trade candidate for the Lakers.

Rozier might not drastically swing the fortune of Los Angeles’ future, but he provides help as a perimeter shooter and scorer who could take some pressure off of James and Davis. Rozier is averaging 21.8 points, 4.9 assists and 2.7 3s per game, although he’s only shooting 33.7 percent from 3 this season.

Rozier is a career 37.1 percent 3-point shooter, though, which would be second-best on the Lakers among any player who attempts more than one 3-pointer per game.

The only catch is Rozier recently signed a four-year, $97 million extension this past offseason, so Los Angeles would be committing to him long-term.

Bojan Bogdanovic, Pistons

Bogdanovic has long been linked to the Lakers because he fits the need for a floor-spacing shooter (just like everyone else on this list). However, the price for Bogdanovic has already been established — an unprotected first-round pick and a rotation player, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

Would the Lakers be willing to part ways with one of their highly coveted future first-round picks for a player who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason? That is to be determined.

It’s hard to argue how much Bogdanovic could help the Lakers this season, though. The 33-year-old shooting specialist is averaging 21.4 points while knocking down 41.9 percent of his 3s.

Lakers most likely to be traded

Russell Westbrook 12222

(NBAE via Getty Images)

Russell Westbrook

I don’t think there’s much explanation needed here. Westbrook’s name has been on the trade block, seemingly, from the second he stepped foot in Los Angeles.

The 34-year-old is earning $47.1 million this season, making him an easy player to throw into a deal to match multiple salaries. He is on an expiring contract and will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, meaning the team that takes on his contract will have him off the books at the end of the season.

Even though Westbrook has done a great job in his new Sixth Man role, averaging 15.7 points, 7.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game, he is still, without a doubt, the most likely Laker to be traded.

Patrick Beverley

Beverley is another name that has popped up in Lakers trade rumors because he makes the next-most money after their Big 3 of James, Davis and Westbrook.

Beverley signed a one-year, $13 million deal with Los Angeles this past offseason, meaning he will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

The 34-year-old has played his role as a defensive stopper, but the Lakers wouldn’t hesitate to throw him in a deal to match salaries if they were adding a rotation player who better fits their needs.

Austin Reaves/Max Christie duo

The Lakers were reportedly “not willing to include” Reaves or Christie in a deal to land Irving over the weekend.

While that means they clearly value this young duo, it also means these players will be seen as valuable assets for other teams trying to make a deal with Los Angeles.

Reaves has been a pleasant surprise for the Lakers, as the undrafted second-year player is averaging 10.8 points and has worked his way into the team’s every-game rotation.

The Lakers sent cash and a future second-round pick to the Magic to land Christie with the 5th pick in the second round of the 2022 NBA Draft. Even though he has played sparingly for Los Angeles — averaging just 3.8 points on 14.5 minutes over 33 games — Christie is still only 19 years old and has plenty of upside potential.

If the Lakers want to land impactful rotation pieces, they may have to be willing to move at least one of these two players.

2027 & 2029 first-round picks

Another likely necessity for any Lakers deadline deal is their future draft picks.

Los Angeles is strapped for draft assets after sending three first-round picks and one first-round pick swap to New Orleans for Davis back in 2019.

While it owns its first-round picks in 2025 and 2026, its only first-rounders available to trade are in 2027 and 2029, something The Sporting News’ Stephen Noh detailed back in December.

If the Lakers are going to make some noise at the deadline, it will almost certainly have to include one (or both) of these picks — especially if they’re going to get a team to take on Westbrook’s contract.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *