Prior to the offseason kicking into full force, Lakers guard Danny Green had made it clear that he was well aware that there would be plenty of NBA trade rumors mentioning him during the league’s accelerated return to play, and the last couple of days have proven his prediction prescient.
On Thursday, there was a report that the Lakers were interested in moving Green (and Kyle Kuzma) in a deal for DeMar DeRozan, and while it’s not clear how real the possibility of that trade is or how forcibly the Lakers are shopping Green, the latest whispers at least indicate an openness from the front office to moving on from the veteran guard.
The most recent reporting to that effect came from Ian Begley of SNY — one of the most plugged in voices on the New York Knicks beat — who writes that the Lakers are open to talking about deals for Green:
Something to keep an eye on: per sources, the Lakers will discuss Danny Green trades with teams that have interest. It’s unclear if the Knicks would consider taking on Green’s deal, but they would have the cap space to absorb it f they decline the options they have on some of their veteran players.
Begley presumably would have heard about this from the Knicks, meaning that the organization has probably become aware that Green is available, which would indicate that other teams have likely heard as much, too (which would explain where the report of the DeRozan deal came from).
None of this means that the Lakers are desperate to deal Green, but it’s also not surprising that they’d be looking to see if they can find ways to move on from him after an underwhelming first season in purple and gold.
Green was still a helpful player this season in a variety of ways, most notably with his help defense and the gravity the threat of his shooting can create for the starters, even if his shot isn’t going down as much as he or the team would like. However, $15 million is a heavy price to pay for what Green brings, and while that deal was a necessary evil for the Lakers to convince Green to hold tight in free agency while Rob Pelinka and the front office waited to see what Kawhi Leonard would do, it doesn’t mean they can’t probably find better uses for that space.
Does that mean they’d want to just salary dump Green, like any deal with the Knicks would likely be? Maybe. Doing so, even for little in return, would create a bit more room as the front office goes through an Olympic-level course of cap gymnastics, but it’s also not something the Lakers have to do in order to be competitive next year.
How hard they actually try to move on from Green will likely depend on two factors:
- Who is really available in free agency, how much would they cost, and would dealing Green get the Lakers in range of meeting that price?
- What could the Lakers get back in a trade?
Even if there is (bafflingly) still no official date set yet for teams to complete transactions, with free agency and the draft (Nov. 20 and 18, respectively) beginning next week, expect that the Lakers are doing their due diligence on both sets of options as we speak. What they hear back will very likely inform whether or not they keep Green, and where he might be going over the next wild few weeks.
Either way things play out, it’s a good thing Green says he doesn’t mind hearing his name, because it’s likely going to be said a lot more before we find out what the Lakers’ finalized roster for their title defense is going to look like.