The trade deadline is coming up on Thursday, and several Los Anegles Lakers have been rumored to be on the block, including Nick Young, Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass, and Lou Williams. Which ones will actually be moved, though, if any? We had our motley crew of writers take their best guess at who will be traded, as well as arguing for who they would most like to see headed out of Los Angeles in our latest roundtable.
Which Laker do you think is most likely to be traded? Why?
Chinmay Vaidya: Brandon Bass. I would say Nick Young, but there might not be any interest. Bass is on an insanely cheap contract and has actually found his footing after a rough start to the season. He could be a backup big man for a contending team and probably has the most value of anyone the Lakers would consider dealing.
The Great Mambino: As much as I'd like to say Nick Young, I'd say Brandon Bass. His contract, two years (including this one) and a portion of the remaining $6 million, is an extremely manageable and tradeable asset. With a solid mid-range jumper, decent defense and a great locker room attitude, Bass seems like a decent bet to go. My only question would be on most playoff teams, is he better than many 7th, 8th or 9th men already on those rosters? I'm just not sure that Bass is going to be better than a decent piece on a decent squad.
In that sense, Lou Williams is definitely more of a standout addition, with his ability to change games offensively off the bench. However, the length of the deal and the fact that the Lakers just signed him gives me pause to the fact that they'll be trading him so soon.
Ben Rosales: Brandon Bass is the most likely Laker to be traded since he likely occupies a happy safe zone of overlap between the Lakers' willingness to part with him, the front office's conception of his value, and the market for his services. He's sufficiently better than your average rotation big that the notion of other teams giving up slightly above a token asset for the right to add him to what likely would be a playoff rotation isn't completely out of the question, with Bass' 1404 career playoff minutes no doubt helping in that calculus.
In addition, the Lakers have a surplus of bigs in their current rotation and as much as Bass has conducted himself with professionalism this year in a lost season, the team would likely be better off with his minutes going to Larry Nance, Jr. and especially Tarik Black. Bass very likely took this deal structure last summer looking to raise his value in preparation for next offseason and he should be considered an eminently disposable asset by the front office.
Tom Fehr: I'll say Brandon Bass is the most likely to be traded. He's decent, cheap and expendable, and playoff teams will gladly take him on. Sadly, you won't really get anything of value back. The upside to this deal is that you'd (hopefully) force Byron Scott's hand into playing Tarik Black and Larry Nance more, which is not only is good in and of itself, but would help D'Angelo Russell's development as well by providing the rookie with pick-and-roll big men to play with.
Sabreena Merchant: I think the most likely outcome of this trade deadline is stasis, given that the Lakers haven't done a great job of turning veterans into assets over the past few seasons - even the Steve Blake trade only yielded a couple of rental players (sigh, Kent Bazemore). However, I suppose the most likely player to be moved is Lou Williams. The youngins are untouchable, and Lou is the only vet that could be useful for a playoff team.
Harrison Faigen: Lou Williams strikes me as the most likely to be traded. His microwave scoring could serve as a boon for either a contender or a fringe playoff team in need of a plug-and-play offensive option off of the bench. Lou is averaging 15.4 points per game on a solid 57.2 true-shooting percentage, both of which rank second on the Lakers.
Those numbers are aided by his bordering on absurd propensity for drawing whistles, with Williams going to the line a team leading 6.3 times per game and shooting 83.8 percent on those freebies. The Houston Rockets could be one such potential suitor if they decide to finally cut their losses on the Ty Lawson experiment and go looking for bench help to take his place.
Drew Garrison: It's a tight race between Brandon Bass and Lou Williams here, but I'll go with the 6 Man himself. He's been very productive for the Lakers, continuing to will his way to the free-throw line one leaning or drifting jumper at a time, and looks like a player that could immediately contribute for a contender needing bench scoring. I think both Bass and Williams will draw interest from teams, but Lou should pull a better deal on the table, and trading him would clear the path for D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson to really take on minutes through the final 27 games.
Which Laker do you most want to be traded, if any? Why?
Chinmay: Nick Young. He has been abysmal this year. Young is shooting 35 percent from the field. His three-point percentage isn't awful, which means I am holding out hope for some awful shooting team to take him off LA's books. Bryon Scott has put him in the doghouse and Young hasn't really recovered from that. Get him out.
Mambino: In case it wasn't apparent, Nick Young, without a doubt. He's got a contract that outweighs his production (for the past two seasons, anyway) and is clogging up the guard rotation unnecessarily. With Jordan Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell, Lou Williams and Kobe Bryant in the fold, there's no room for Swaggy P and his 10 shots per game. I don't suspect he'll be traded, but he'd be my first pick to go out the door.
Ben: Although Nick Young would seem to be the bien pensant choice here, I'll lean toward Lou Williams. Getting Young off the team would certainly be nice, but all the Lakers would be accomplishing is clearing his deal off their cap and opening up playing time for Anthony Brown. That's no doubt helpful, but the overall gain isn't all that great; the Lakers will have gobs of cap space with or without Young on the roster this offseason, and burying Young in the rotation so Brown can play has been done this season whenever that's where Byron's rotation wheel of madness has pointed toward.
Moving Lou, however, would only be done if the Lakers were getting a real asset back, not an outlandish turn of events considering Lou's very team-friendly contract under the new cap, very respectable offensive production this year, and clear and evident role for any team getting him (except apparently, for Byron Scott). As such, if we're to wish for a trade to happen, that'd probably be the scenario I'd be envisioning in my prayers.
Sabreena: I'd love to trade Roy Hibbert, just so the Lakers could start giving those minutes to an honest-to-goodness roll man. I'd also be interested in gauging the market for Jordan Clarkson. I don't think the Lakers should trade him, necessarily, but he has a ton of value, and the front office should be doing its due diligence.
Tom: While I obviously want Bass to be traded for the reasons indicated above, I'll say I would rather have Lou Williams traded. As Ben noted, this probably would mean the Lakers getting an actual asset in return, and frankly, I'm not too keen on Lou being a key piece of the team the next few years. He's pretty good, all things considered, I just don't know how he fits on a roster with both D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson already on it. If those two are the core pieces of the Lakers' backcourt - and make no mistake about it, they are - then the rest of the guard spots absolutely must be filled with a combination of defensive and floor-spacing talent. Lou Williams fits neither of those descriptors. While I would miss his inexplicable ability to draw fouls on the perimeter (seriously, he's a witch), it probably would be a good thing for the Lakers if they were able to move him at the deadline.
Harrison: Ryan Kelly. I still think the Duke product is an NBA player in certain contexts, but the Lakers are not one of them. It wouldn't even matter if he was on the roster or not if he was not bizarrely (and through no fault of his own) blocking the path to playing time for Tarik Black, who not only is the younger player who looks like he could have a future with the team, but also appears to be more effective right now. With Kelly highly unlikely to return in free agency this summer, any type of asset the Lakers could get for him (very likely nothing more than a heavily protected second round pick, if anything) would be gravy on top of the front office essentially forcing Scott's hand into giving Black a bit more burn. An ignominious end for a player who just two years ago appeared ready to serve as a role player for Mike D'Antoni during his rookie campaign.
Alas, we'll always have his game winning preseason dunk and the time he mopped the floor with both his opponents and a literal mop with the D-Fenders. Fly free, White Raven.
Drew: Roy Hibbert is the guy I want to see go. He'll be a free agent this summer, and while the Lakers didn't give up much to swipe him from the Pacers, I think it'd be best to try and find some sort of asset in return before he hits the market. Trading him would also mean the Lakers are essentially out of the running to sign him this summer, which after watching him on this team through the first 55 games, is just fine with me.
His contract isn't easy to move even if it's expiring, but if they can find a way to get something even as little as a second-round pick in return, I'm with it. Tarik Black deserves a chance, and dumping Hibbert seems like the easiest way to make that happen.