The buzz surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers use of the No. 7 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft seems to be building toward a consensus pick across mock draft boards, but the team is seeking a trade for an "All-star caliber big man." ESPN's Chad Ford released his latest mock draft (Insider) and revealed this little tidbit while projecting Julius Randle to the team:
The Lakers keep shopping this pick but are struggling to find an All-Star caliber big in return. If the Cavs can't get that type of player with the No. 1 overall pick, the Lakers are probably not getting it at pick No. 7. If the Lakers keep it, they'll want a player who can come in and contribute from day one, and three players -- Randle, Smart and Doug McDermott -- seem to be the targets.
Randle, along with Parker, might be the most NBA-ready freshman in the draft. With the Lakers' entire front line heading into free agency this summer (including Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill), the Lakers are going to have a lot of needs up front.
It's unclear who the Lakers might be trying to leverage for, but the value of the seventh-overall pick may have taken a hit. Randle is not only the player most often projected to the Lakers across mock drafts, he may also be the player who's draft stock could be sinking the most right now. Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski released a report claiming Randle will undergo surgery on his right foot and will be sidelined for six-to-eight weeks. He also wrote Randle's stock should not drop and this isn't a significant issue, per his league executive sources.
Randle, however, jumped on Twitter to shoot down the report. For whatever it's worth, Randle has not worked out for the Lakers, and while Wojnarowski writes his draft stock will not be affected, ESPN's Jeff Goodman reveals it could be a significant issue for front offices while also confirming Wojnarowski's initial report:
According to several team executives, the 6-foot-9 Kentucky forward's broken right foot hasn't healed correctly -- and sources confirmed a Yahoo! Sports report that Randle may need surgery after the June 26 NBA draft that will keep him out of summer league.
"This is an issue," one executive told ESPN.com. "It didn't heal right."
He's either undergoing surgery, or he's not. His draft stock is taking a hit, or it isn't. Randle is a rookie many analysts are pinning to the Lakers, and DraftExpress is one of the last sources to join the ranks. The site previously projected Noah Vonleh to Los Angeles, but now has the big man out of Indiana going to the Utah Jazz with the fifth-overall pick.
14 days until the draft and more proof we know nothing. Shouts to Jon Snow.