While there has been much debate as to who the Lakers could target once trade season fully rolls around — or, more specifically, one team and largely one player in particular so far — there hasn’t been as much debate on who the Lakers could be willing to depart with.
Through their work this past offseason, the Lakers have a number of tradeable contracts. Which of those players is the team most likely to trade will be the question to monitor in the coming weeks and months.
In a recent HoopsHype article by Michael Scotto, there was perhaps a bit of insight into what those around the league think on the matter.
“Rival NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype believe D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura are two potential trade candidates to watch.”
First, there’s a necessary caveat here in the wording of this report. “Rival NBA executives” is vague as is “potential trade candidates.” Realistically, there’s very little concrete reporting in here.
Now, having said that, we can move forward.
While the Dec. 15 date has become the date NBA fans have come to know as the date players become trade-eligible, which is largely true. For the Lakers, that doesn’t apply to two players in Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, both because they re-signed with the Lakers on pay increases, to simplify things.
D’Angelo Russell could be traded on Dec. 15 and is perhaps the most likely player on the roster to be traded, though it’s not a foregone conclusion necessarily. In general, outside of Reaves, there isn’t a player signed to one of those contracts this summer that feels like they should be off the table.
The other way to look at this is what position could be most easily upgraded. That applies to Russell and the guard spot after he was played off the floor deep in the playoffs last year. That doesn’t quite apply the same to Rui, though.
Ultimately, this is a pretty vague report, but a bit of a peak into how the league is looking at the Lakers right now and perhaps a good starting point for the coming months.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.