Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the Brooklyn Nets sent Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks — and not the Lakers — in a blockbuster trade on Sunday afternoon. But with the 2023 NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching on Feb. 9, Los Angeles is going to quickly have to pivot to other options before 12 p.m. PST on Thursday.
Unsurprisingly, that process has already begun, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who wrote on Sunday night that the Lakers are already considering a few backup trade options (emphasis mine):
The Lakers will remain active on the trade market, exploring deals both small and large. In the wake of the Irving-to-Dallas news, the two teams that have repeatedly popped up as Plan B options for the Lakers are the Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors, according to league sources. Both teams have been linked to the Lakers in recent weeks and have starter-level players who have been rumored to be available. However, talks remain preliminary and nothing is imminent. The Charlotte Hornets, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls are three other teams to watch, according to those sources.
As Jovan points out, none of these links are necessarily new, but for a refresher, here are some of the potential packages on the table with these teams, in the order he mentioned them.
The Utah Jazz
Prior to Irving’s trade demand, the Lakers were already in contact with Utah on a potential Russell Westbrook trade.
On Friday, our own Alex Regla broke down what a few versions of that could look like that work legally under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, with potential names involved including Mike Conley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Rudy Gay and/or Kelly Olynyk:
Just from money matching purposes, a couple configurations work for a Lakers/Jazz trade, but I would assume it would be some type of framework like this: https://t.co/1FLgcQ3n9A pic.twitter.com/SPpTeOGU3w— Alex Regla (@AlexmRegla) February 3, 2023
The Toronto Raptors
The Lakers have already been linked to Raptors shooting guard and Klutch Sports client Gary Trent Jr. for the second trade deadline in a row this year, and Trent is the type of floor spacer the team has been missing around LeBron James and Anthony Davis since giving up on Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and other role players from their 2020 championship team.
And while there haven’t been any definitive reports about other Raptors who have been involved in talks with the Lakers, it’s been widely speculated and reported that Toronto may move Fred VanVleet and/or O.G. Anunoby at this trade deadline (although getting those guys would likely require including both of the team’s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks, and competition for either would be stiff).
The Charlotte Hornets
Anyone who missed it amidst all the chaos and trade slop of the weekend could be forgiven, but even while the latest Irving trade saga was going on, the Lakers were once again linked to Terry Rozier and the Hornets for at least the third and fourth time this season.
While the word on Friday was that Rozier could be a target in a Westbrook trade, the Lakers could also (at least from a salary-matching perspective) acquire him for Patrick Beverley and Lonnie Walker IV.
The San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs were linked to the Lakers in the offseason as a potential Westbrook trade partner, with Jakob Poeltl, Josh Richardson and/or Doug McDermott as the potential returns. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype actually reported in November that the Lakers “offered a lottery-protected first-round pick and Russell Westbrook for Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott before the season. However, the Spurs wanted an unprotected first-round pick that Los Angeles was unwilling to sacrifice, which led to talks stalling.”
The Chicago Bulls
There has been little indication from anyone but excited media members doing hypothetical fake trade podcasts that the Bulls will actually give up on their perpetual pursuit of thrifty mediocrity, but Zach Lowe and Ramona Shelburne ESPN reported recently that the Lakers have been hoping that Zach LaVine and/or DeMar DeRozan will become available in a trade since September.
Will they actually? I’m skeptical. But it would (partially) explain why Rob Pelinka and Co. have held onto their first-round picks for dear life all season.
So there you have it, a few names and teams to look out for as we start deadline week madness in earnest. Are any of those names or teams more interesting than others to you? Let us know in the comments below.
For all the latest heading into the NBA trade deadline, check out our Silver Screen and Roll Lakers trade rumors tracker.