As a team that in recent years has often been looking to trade into the NBA Draft, the Lakers are in an unfamiliar situation. Positioned nearly directly in the middle of the 2023 draft, the Lakers are in a position where they could be a pivot point.
According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN and DraftExpress, the Lakers are considering trading down in next week’s draft.
The Lakers are also exploring trade scenarios as well, especially with teams that have multiple picks.
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic wrote similarly in his own intel-stocked mock draft:
Also, don’t be stunned to see the Lakers look to trade down. The team only has four players guaranteed to be under contract for next season. Getting some cost-controlled depth would help them with their plans, and there are several teams, as we’ll discuss, that are exploring consolidating some pick capital.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports added to the chorus on Friday:
There are plenty of clubs in addition to the Mavericks, such as the Thunder at No. 12 and the Lakers at No. 17, sources said, that will consider trading down with teams that hold multiple picks near or in the twenties such as Utah (Nos. 16 and 28), Brooklyn (Nos. 21 and 22) and Indiana (Nos. 26 and 29), who are all considering options at trading up, sources said.
It’s an intriguing spot for the Lakers to find themselves in and an interesting proposition to consider. In some sense, this could be a way of getting back some first round picks that the team traded away in recent years.
However, it is an uncommon stance to potentially take when the team is looking to compete for a title in LeBron’s final years. As it stands, adding two draft picks to the roster would be difficult unless both are ready to contribute from day one. Adding a potential third rookie is only furthering those issues.
It’s rare for title-contending teams to have even one rookie contribute at a high level deep in the playoffs. Adding more and more of them probably isn’t the best option for a team looking to win now.
But the Lakers’ ability to find contributing role players in the draft probably also should be taken into account. This could be a bit of due diligence but if a team falls in love with a player in the Lakers range and they can take advantage of that situation, then it’d be hard to turn that down.
A team like the Pacers, who have picked No. 26, No. 29 and No. 32, or even the Nets with picks No. 21 and No. 22 could look to move up in the draft and could be partners with the Lakers.
The Lakers are very much a team that does due diligence when it comes to the draft and this could simply be another form of that. But there are some interesting possibilities that could come with trading down and acquiring more picks.
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