Trade season is in full bloom in the NBA with Dec. 15 passing and lifting trade restrictions off of players who were signed as free agents this summer. SB Nation NBA is having another one of our patented theme days, this time focused on where our team stands in the trade market. Be sure to check out all the other great capsules, which can be located here!
Are the Los Angeles Lakers a buyer or seller?
This is tough. The Lakers should want to be buyers but really have nothing to sell. The team is absolutely interested in buying assets for the future -- future first-round draft picks, productive talent on a rookie scale contracts that still have upside -- but there's just not much the Lakers can offer a team in return for those valuable things.
They could be considered a seller if they really want to get rid of Pau Gasol before the deadline, something that's already been rumored if he doesn't improve his play, but the team doesn't appear to be in any rush.
As a buyer, what are the needs? Who are the targets?
Lakers Trade Rumors
Lakers Trade Rumors
The most important need in any trade for the Lakers will be salary cap flexibility. It's unlikely the team will make a trade for a spare parts player if it will compromise their salary over the next two seasons. Aside from that, as mentioned above, any future first-round draft picks should be of interest to Mitch Kupchak and company. The team doesn't own their own 2015 first-round pick and needs to find cheap, productive talent to help fill out the roster. The best way to do that is with rookie players who can contribute right away.
The team may also be in the market for a point guard. Steve Nash is back in Canada trying to get his back right, Steve Blake is going to miss more than a month and Jordan Farmar is trying to rush back from a hamstring tear. Even with Farmar expected to make his return sooner than later, the team only has one true point guard on the roster and leaning on Kobe Bryant to handle those duties while he also tries to reincorporate himself is a tall order.
It's nearly impossible to pick out who the Lakers would be interested in, but going off of the sole rumor for the Lakers, they do have their eye on Iman Shumpert and Tyson Chandler. Shumpert fits in as one of those rookie scale productive players. Chandler? An interesting option for the Lakers, who would have to pay him $14.9 million in salary next season if they went that route.
But they're a seller too? Who's on the table from the Lakers?
Yes, as mentioned the team is definitely in sell mode as well. Gasol could be available for the right package. Chris Kaman is likely all but available for immediate backcourt help -- he's out of the rotation right now and on an expiring contract. Steve Blake could have also fell into this category, but his elbow ligament tear destroyed his trade value for now. I would be shocked if any of the wings they acquired this summer were off the table, but I have a feeling there aren't many teams putting in calls for Wesley Johnson and Xavier Henry, future free agents this summer.
If there's a low-key valuable player on the team, though, it's Jodie Meeks. He's putting up a career-high in points per game and three-point shooting percentage (43 percent).
What are your specific trade ideas?
First, be sure to check out The Great Mambino's fantastic, well-thought out post regarding potential destinations for Pau Gasol. Next I'll throw one out there based around rumors that have been swirling lately:
Lakers receive: Iman Shumpert and Tyson Chandler
Knicks receive: Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks, Kyle Lowry
Raptors receive: Raymond Felton, Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks 2018 first-round draft pick
If the Knicks finally decide to take the dive with Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors in a deal to land Kyle Lowry, the Lakers could definitely try to shoe horn their way in as a third team. James Dolan has been resistant to getting a deal done with the Raptors as the team grumbles over sending out a far-future first-round pick (2018).
The Lakers sweep in and include Pau Gasol as the sweetener. Toronto was open to either Hardaway Jr. or Shumpert, along with Felton if they received a pick, so they still get their piece of the pie. Los Angeles adds in Jodie Meeks to help the Knicks deal with the loss of two wing players in the depth chart and end up with Shumpert and potentially Tyson Chandler.
Would the Knicks do this? Probably not. I don't know how much they value Chandler, or what their opinion on Pau Gasol would be, but it's a major overhaul for New York. It could be viewed as the overhaul they need to get their season back on track, or the overhaul that served as the final blow to the struggling squad.
Let's discuss! What trade possibilities do you like? Do you think the Lakers can find a way to gnab Shumpert? Should the Lakers go after Chandler alone instead of Shumpert? What other targets make sense? Fire up that trade machine, folks.
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