It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I’m, of course, talking about the NBA trade rumors season, which unofficially started on Saturday, when trade restrictions were lifted on almost every player that signed a contract with a team this summer, and what a start it was.
To make a long story short, a three-team trade between the Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies centered around Trevor Ariza fell apart because the Suns were confused about which “Brooks” they were getting back in the trade. Just in case that wasn’t clear, a trade in the National Basketball Association was called off because two players on the same team had the same last name and two general managers mixed them up.
Yes, I’m serious. What did we ever do to deserve this wonderful, wonderful league?
The Los Angeles Lakers had discussions with the Suns about Ariza leading up to Saturday, but talks fell apart because the Lakers were unwilling to include any of their young core. However, while they didn’t get a deal done, it’s clear the front office is looking to improve their roster well before the trade deadline on Feb. 7, and they have the assets to pull if off.
Not only can they trade their own first-round pick at the deadline for the first time in years, but the Lakers also have a handful of trade-friendly expiring contracts on their payroll. The chances of them standing pat between now and the deadline are slim-to-none.
It’s for that reason I did my best to put together a list of players the Lakers can target in trades over the next few months. Because the Lakers have made it clear they don’t want to take on long-term salary that would jeopardize their chances at a star this summer, these targets are all players on expiring deals too.
In light of recent events, I also included a guide that shows which players they are not.
I’m confident these players and the corresponding trade proposals will be met with little criticism, because the internet is respectful and understanding of other people’s opinions.
Not to be confused with: MARCUS Morris (high-risk), MONTE Morris (moderate-risk), MORRIS Day (low-risk).
Over the past few years, Markieff Morris’ role with the Wizards has slowly gotten smaller.
For example, last season Morris started all 73 games he was healthy for Washington. Through 30 games this season, Morris has started just 15 games.
With Ariza now on board, his role is going to shrink a little more. In a contract year, that’s not ideal for him.
Morris and his new agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, should be working to find a better situation for him, and the Lakers could be the perfect landing spot.
Not only would Morris fill the hole the Lakers have at the backup-four spot, but he could also see some playing time as the team’s small-ball center when the situation called for it.
This season, Morris is averaging 11.4 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from behind the arc. Morris attempts 4.2 3-pointers per game.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported in November that the Wizards would likely seek a first-round pick for Morris, but with the departures of Austin Rivers and Kelly Oubre Jr. in the Ariza deal, you have to wonder if they’re now looking to replenish the little depth they had.
Not to be confused with: Tyson CHANDLER (already on the Lakers), CHANDLER Parsons (yuck), CHANDLER Bing (low-risk)
Similar to the Wizards, the Philadelphia 76ers surrendered some of their depth in a win-now trade earlier this season, except their reward was four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler, not a 33-year-old Trevor Ariza.
They’ve managed to stay afloat with a lackluster bench so far, but they’re hoping to address that issue before the trade deadline. One player they’ve reportedly had eyes for is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
KCP, a scrappy two-way wing, would be a great fit in Philly, but unless the Sixers were willing to part with Markelle Fultz, any trade for Caldwell-Pope would have to include Wilson Chandler. For the Lakers, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Yes, Chandler (31 years old) would make the Lakers a little bit older, but he would also make them longer and more versatile on both ends of the floor. At 6-foot-9 and 225 lbs., Chandler is capable of playing both forward spots, although he’s probably best suited at the four at this stage of his career.
A straight up Chandler for Caldwell-Pope swap wouldn’t make much sense for L.A., but if the Sixers included an asset like a draft pick or one of their more unproven young players, the Lakers would be hard pressed to find a better return for KCP.
Possible trade: Lakers get Wilson Chandler and Zhaire Smith; Sixers get Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley.
Not to be mistaken for: TERRANCE Ferguson (high-risk), TERRY Rozier (moderate-risk), Tracee Ellis Ross (low-risk)
The Lakers have reportedly expressed interest in trading for Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross, and it’s really not that hard to understand why.
Through 29 games this season, Ross is playing arguably the best basketball of his career, averaging a career-high 14.1 points per game while shooting 45.8 percent from the field and converting 39.6 percent of his 3-point attempts. He can also do this when he has a clear lane to the rim:
So why would the Magic consider trading him?
Ross will enter unrestricted free agency next summer, and his value has never been higher. If the Magic can get a pick or a long-term answer at point guard for Ross’ services, they shouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
From a salary standpoint, a straight up KCP for Ross trade makes sense, but the Magic don’t need another wing player. If a contender that covets KCP like the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Houston Rockets entered the equation with a sweetener to get a deal done, that would change things.