NBA trade rumors season is officially in full swing, as leaks about what the Los Angeles Lakers want to do just keep coming. However, while most of the news so far has been about what they will or won’t do with Kyle Kuzma, the latest update about who L.A. might be interested in concerns another player: Davis Bertans.
Bertans has been one of the best shooters in the NBA this year with the Washington Wizards, making 43.4% of his triples, the eighth-best mark in the league. The Lakers — who are shooting 35.3% from distance, good for 19th in the league — seem to be canvassing the market for shooters, first with their rumored interest in Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Sacramento Kings, and now in the latest report from Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, who says the Lakers are one of a few teams to call the Wizards about Bertans:
In addition to the Sixers, Hawks and Lakers, the Celtics and Nuggets have emerged as suitors for Bertans’ services, NBC Sports Washington has learned. Bertans, 27, has enjoyed a breakout season, averaging 15.4 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 43.4 percent from three on 8.6 attempts per game.
Now, it’s worth noting that this is pretty clearly a leak from the Wizards or someone around there, as Hughes is very much a local reporter. His only previous appearance on this site was a pretty-transparently agent-driven leak about the Lakers’ alleged interest in Bobby Portis in free agency last summer, so make of that what you will.
But taking this at face value, Bertans is making $7 million this season, so a theoretical trade of Quinn Cook and Kuzma ($5 million total) technically fulfills the NBA rule to match salaries within 75% of each other for teams over the cap. Now, would that be enough for the Wizards? It’s not clear, because they’ve said they want to re-sign Bertans, and Hughes says it’s unknown exactly how much they will listen to offers, even privately:
How much the Wizards will actually entertain offers is unclear. He is one of their best players and the fact he has become one of the best catch-and-shoot scorers in the NBA is particularly enticing given the offensive style they like to play.
So given that the Wizards don’t exactly seem desperate to do a deal and the Lakers may have options elsewhere — to say nothing of all the other teams that might drive up the bidding on Bertans — it’s probably fair to guess that these two are far from a shoe-in to be trade partners yet. Bertans could help the Lakers, but it’s probably best to wait for a bit more smoke before assuming there is a real chance he will get the opportunity to.