The Lakers roster this season has been one that has woefully underperformed and, as a result, is in the need of some form of a shakeup. The risk of filling the team with veteran minimum signings means that some will hit — Malik Monk, Carmelo Anthony — and some will not — Kent Bazemore, DeAndre Jordan, Wayne Ellington — leaving the team in need of moving on from many of the latter.
As the team continues to look to improve the roster, those latter players remain at the center of the most likely trade rumors. Both Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report and longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein have provided recent trade rumor updates on the Lakers, largely surrounding their moves on the margins.
Bazemore on the move
The Lakers shopping Bazemore isn’t new information with a previous report indicating they weren’t interested in using draft picks to offload either him or Jordan. Still, according to Fischer, the team has continued to look for a deal to swap out Bazemore, who has failed to live up to any expectations this season.
The Lakers are searching to find Kent Bazemore a new home after he opened the season as a starter.
Bazemore started the first 13 games of the season then, as is prone to happen this season, fell entirely out of the rotation, playing 16 times over the next 38 games. Only in recent contests has he re-entered the rotation to mixed results.
Wings are hard to find and Bazemore still is one but that’s about all he has had going for him this season for the Lakers.
Paul Millsap a buyout target
As has been the case the last two seasons, the Lakers figure to be active in the buyout market this season. While the names of players who could become available are not yet clear, one option could be another former Nets big man in Paul Millsap. Currently, Millsap is away from the team as Brooklyn looks to move him to a better situation, which could be in Los Angeles according to Fischer.
And while it’s believed Paul Millsap would prefer to land in Chicago, having a connection to Bulls lead executive Arturas Karnisovas from their shared Denver days, Los Angeles has been mentioned as a suitor for Millsap should he reach the buyout market.
The last time the Lakers acquired a former Nets big man in Jordan, things did not go well and it’s hard to see this playing out much differently. Millsap, who will turn 37 next week, looks every bit his age on the court. Never one with overwhelming athleticism, the loss in step for Millsap has been extra damaging to his game.
In 24 appearances for the Nets, all off the bench, this season, Millsap averaged 3.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and shot 37.6% from the field and 22.2% from the 3-point line. It’s hard to imagine he could bring any sort of positive impact to the Lakers other than being a different big body on the roster.
Talen Horton-Tucker not close to being dealt
All reports have indicated that Talen Horton-Tucker is not going anywhere this season, at least not for the price the Lakers value him at. Corroborating a recent report by Erin Pincus of Bleacher Report that said Horton-Tucker was seen as a “marginal asset” across the league, Stein added in a recent Spotify Greenroom chat that he’s not even seen as the most valuable Lakers trade asset.
“I don’t think this is going to come as a great surprise to you: THT does not have great value in the market right now. He probably the Lakers’ No. 2 trade asset after that 2027 first, but the Lakers are not close to making a deal even on a contract that isn’t super expensive, I would not expect them having much luck getting a meaningful player in return for a THT-centric package. Last year was a different story. The deadline last year he was dealbreaker THT, but a lot has change in 11, 12 months I’m afraid.”
Based on all the reports indicating how low Horton-Tucker’s value is, it may make sense for the Lakers to simply hang onto him and try to revitalize his stock. Selling low on a player is simply bad asset management. At this point, Horton-Tucker will not bring in a player that would make a noteworthy enough difference to help the Lakers this season.
And considering how far away the Lakers seem to be from contending, sacrificing an asset with potential in a win-now move seems like mortgaging the future and making an awfully high-risk play.
What is clear about the Lakers movement as the trade deadline nears is that the movies on the margins feel far more likely than a blockbuster deal.