The NBA lottery is close enough that the anticipation has become palpable. The ping pong balls are in position. Magic Johnson is ready to smile about keeping their picks. Rob Pelinka is behind closed doors ready to do whatever it takes to keep said picks. Lakers Twitter is willing to go to the darkest places to make this happen.
With this latest Adrian Wojnarowski report (courtesy of The Chris Mannix Show), the desperation behind the pleas for any kind of luck are only going to escalate, if that’s somehow possible.
(It’s totally possible. There’s some weird stuff going on.)
As if there wasn’t enough on the line in tonight’s festivities, Woj seems to think the Lakers could somehow get out from under the terrible deals that reportedly sealed Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss’ fates. Those contracts obviously belonging to Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov
Hold on to your butts, because this could be huge.
If they want to get off of Luol Deng’s or Mozgov — and Mozgov is the more likely deal — let’s say a team like Brooklyn that has lots of cap space and needs picks. Brooklyn will be out there on the market looking at team that have a bad contract they want to get off, but only if they will either attach a young player or a draft pick. So, if L.A. feels they can get in there and get Paul George this year, or maybe even do something broader, having the picks allows them maybe to get contracts off. Because otherwise, no one’s taking Mozgov and Deng’s deals from you.
So there you have it. There is a team out there willing to give the Lakers the type of financial flexibility to offer two max contracts next year, so long as Johnson and Pelinka are willing to part with a piece of their young core.
Woj doesn’t specify what kind of player it would take, though. There’s a huge different between offering Jordan Clarkson or trading away Brandon Ingram. Ivica Zubac showed a lot of promise in his rookie year, but the Lakers would rather deal him than D’Angelo Russell.
Those details are sure to come eventually, but it all starts with whether the Lakers will keep their pick in a matter of minutes. Put on your lucky jerseys, rub a rabbit’s foot, shine a horseshoe. Do whatever it takes. If keeping the pick means potentially getting rid of either of those deals, we have to pull out all the stops.