Along with basically one-third of the league, the Lakers are the latest team to be interested in OG Anunoby. One of the premier 3-and-D wings in the league, Anunoby has had the attention of much of the NBA as the Raptors have underwhelmed this season.
With the deadline just days away and Toronto open to making deals, everyone is monitoring Anunoby, including the purple and gold according to the latest report from Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (emphasis mine).
The Pelicans, Grizzlies, Knicks, Pacers, Trail Blazers, Lakers, Suns and Nets have all been linked to Anunoby in recent days. Although the Raptors, sources said, have communicated asking prices for Anunoby that rival front offices feel are quite steep. There appears varying interest in the talented 25-year-old wing, who emerged as an early-season Defensive Player of the Year candidate. But officials from multiple teams also told Yahoo Sports they expect the number of front offices quietly preparing for Kevin Durant to become available via trade this offseason will likely dampen the Raptors’ bidding war for Anunoby’s services, at least to some degree. Why would Phoenix, for example, mortgage multiple first-round picks for Toronto’s swingman and eliminate itself from any potential Durant sweepstakes come July?
To put it mildly, the Lakers are probably at the very back of this group in terms of what they can offer. Their best package of two draft picks, Russell Westbrook, Max Christie, and Austin Reaves might be enough to get in the conversation, but it would be a package pretty easily dwarfed by other teams if they were serious about acquiring him.
The one caveat that could make this interesting is what Fischer mentions later on in the paragraph in regards to Kevin Durant. The fallout from the Kyrie Irving trade for Brooklyn is that KD could soon follow suit. Most of the same teams monitoring OG are also going to be interested in KD.
Only in a scenario where all eyes are focused on Durant does it feel like the Lakers could potentially swoop in and nab Anunoby, but even then, the Raptors are not in a position where they have to trade Anunoby. So, even in that scenario, it’s unlikely the Lakers get a deal done.
Trust me, as a fellow former Hoosier, I would love nothing more than to watch Anunoby. There might be a little bit of protecting myself from being getting hope and being let down. But it doesn’t feel like a realistic scenario. It doesn’t hurt to try and express interest, but it shouldn’t be — and probably isn’t — the primary focus of the franchise in the coming days.
For all the latest heading into the NBA trade deadline, check out our Silver Screen and Roll Lakers trade rumors tracker. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.