The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly looking at trade options outside of Trevor Ariza to bolster their depth on the wing. According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Lakers are also targeting Wayne Ellington of the Miami Heat and Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic.
The Heat would be open to moving Ellington to a playoff team for a first-round pick, according to sources. He has averaged 10.0 points and is making 38.1 percent of his 3-pointers.
Another target is Magic forward Terrence Ross, but with the 27-year-old averaging 14.1 points on a career-best 56.8 true shooting percentage, his value might be out of the Lakers’ range.
Ellington spent a single season with the Lakers in 2014, and in his brief time in L.A. he managed to become a fan favorite (or at least a cult classic for the die-hards that watched that miserable team that year). Nearly five years later, it’s easy to understand why the Lakers might want him back.
Since leaving Los Angeles, Ellington has emerged as one of the league’s most reliable 3-point shooters. Last season he shot 39.2 percent from behind the arc while attempting a career-high 7.5 3-pointers per game.
By doing that, Ellington was one of five players to shoot at least 39 percent from 3 while attempting at least 7 3-point attempts per game. The others? Stephen Curry, Paul George, Klay Thompson and Kyle Lowry. His 3-point marksmanship even earned him a spot in the 3-point contest for the first time in his career.
This season Ellington is shooting a slightly less efficient 37.4 percent from behind the 3-point line, but that would still be the second-highest percentage on most teams around the league, including the Lakers. It’s for that reason the Heat are reportedly asking for a first-round pick in exchange for Ellington’s services.
The Lakers, for the first time in ages, can trade their own their first-round pick before the trade deadline, and with the players they would send to Miami, they might have to.
In order to make salaries match, the Lakers would have to include Lance Stephenson and one of Michael Beasley or Ivica Zubac. They could also theoretically package one of their rookies in a deal, but that seems like a steep price for a player on an expiring deal and Deveney also re-iterated in his post the obvious point that was reported yesterday: L.A. isn’t looking to move members of their young core for rentals.
If the Heat and the Lakers come to an agreement on a deal, Ellington, like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, would have to approve it before the trade went through because he signed his second one-year deal with Miami this summer.
Unlike Ellington, a trade for Ross would likely be one made in place of Ariza, not in addition to.
Ross is on an expiring contract worth $10.5 million, meaning the Lakers would have to send either Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Rajon Rondo back in a trade to match salaries. They could try and get creative and package Stephenson, Beasley and Zubac, but three-for-one trades in the NBA are a rarity because of roster limitations and other factors.
However, if the Lakers struck out on Ariza, Ross would be a solid backup plan. Not only is he younger by Ariza than six years, but he’s an elite athlete that can knock down 3-pointers at an efficient clip.
This season, Ross is shooting 39.1 percent from 3 while attempting 5.6 3-pointers per game. He’s also averaging a career-high 14.1 points per game on 45.3 percent shooting from the field.
Ross has additionally had solid “auditions” against the Lakers this year, scoring 14.5 points on 58.8 percent shooting (and 66.7 percent shooting on threes) in Orlando’s two wins against L.A. this year.
Whether it’s Ariza, Ross, or Ellington, it’s clear the Lakers see their depth on the wing as an issue and either one of the players they’ve been linked to would be an upgrade on the options they currently have.
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