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3 trades the Lakers can make on draft night using the contracts of Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba

With recent reporting suggesting the Lakers may be open to making a deal on draft night, here are a few options the team may consider.

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Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

With the NBA Draft fast approaching on June 22nd, the Lakers will likely continue to find themselves in the rumor mill up until their selection is made.

Fresh off their Western Conference Finals berth, the team finds themselves in the precarious position of trying to maintain the continuity that helped steer their deep postseason run while also attempting to upgrade their roster.

Their best bet to accomplish the latter will likely have to transpire on draft night. With the 17th and 47th picks at their disposal, the draft capital will hold the most value prior to Thursday.

In terms of other trade avenues, the Lakers also have the contracts of Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba to match money in a deal to bolster their depth. They have until the 29th of this month to pick up Beasley’s $16.5 million contract for the upcoming season. They also have to make a decision on whether to fully guarantee Bamba’s $10.3 million on the same date.

The combination of their picks and the potential flexibility of these contracts could lead to some creative options for the front office to capitalize on. And if recent rumblings are to be believed, that may in fact be the case.

According to Jovan Buha of the Athletic, there’s a “growing possibility” the Lakers may make a move on draft night by using their first-round pick alongside Beasley and/or Bamba to find a “starting-level upgrade.”

Working off the theory that the Lakers do attempt to go this route, let’s take a look at some options they could pursue that may fit the bill of upgrading while keeping their core intact.

Lakers receive: Royce O’Neale, No. 21 pick and a future second

Nets receive: Mo Bamba and the No. 17 pick

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Why the Lakers do it: After their deep playoff push, the Lakers will likely be operating under the belief that their title window is still open. And like nearly every other team around the league, could be in the market for a reliable 3-and-D wing to help strengthen their chances.

With the free-agent statuses of Lonnie Walker, Troy Brown Jr and the aforementioned Malik Beasley up in the air, the Lakers could quickly find themselves short on the perimeter. He won’t be the sexiest name that will be floated in fake trades in the upcoming days but Royce O’Neale could perhaps help fill that hole.

Although he has seen some slippage since his underrated tenure with the Jazz, O’Neale is still is a versatile defender, floor-spacer and iron man at his position.

Standing at 6’6 and sporting a 6’9” wingspan, O’Neale can play up some thanks to his sturdy frame which could help alleviate some of the defensive pressure on the team’s perimeter players.

Offensively, O’Neale could also bring value to Los Angeles as he continues to be a reliable and willing shooter in his role. According to Cleaning the Glass, 68% (career high) of his shot-attempts came from behind the arc this year with Brooklyn. He made 39% of his opportunities and has yet to post a 3-point conversion rate lower than 38%

While health is never certain, O’Neale may also offer the benefit of availability to a roster that has been riddled with injuries over recent years. The 30-year-old hasn’t played in less than 71 games since the 2017-18 season.

Why the Nets do it: From Brooklyn’s perspective, this trade could help facilitate two goals: 1) they move up in the draft by potentially only using one of their two first-rounders this year with a player they may have simply waived to lessen their tax bill. 2) They thin what is already a crowded and soon to be very expensive wing group.

With Bamba, the Nets also get a flier on a still just 25-year-old who may finally find his footing in a new environment. And if not, they simply let his deal expire at the end of the year.

Lakers receive: Buddy Hield, No. 26 and No. 32

Pacers receive: Malik Beasley and No. 17

Los Angeles Lakers v Indiana Pacers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Why the Lakers do it: It’s been no secret that the Lakers’ front office has coveted Buddy Hield over the years. Since his time with the Kings and most recently with the Pacers, the sharpshooter has been linked to Los Angeles in what seems like a now annual tradition.

After shooting just 33.5% from three in the postseason and seeing the opposition actively leave some of their players open, it’s clear the Lakers are still in search of a more reliable shooting threat. This an area in which Hield remains among the league’s best.

The former Rob Pelinka client made an otherworldly 43% of his 670 attempts from deep with Indiana this season, as well as putting up a career high 60% effective field-goal percentage.

His ability to not only generate perimeter gravity, but also much some needed shooting off movement, would go a long way to adding wrinkles and space to the Lakers’ offense.

With Hield’s contract set to expire and his clear limitations on defense, the Lakers should be able to also recoup some first-round capital in the deal to soften the blow of parting with their pick. According to recent reports, they have already explored trade-down scenarios.

Why the Pacers do it: Although it sounds good in theory, the Pacers arguably have too many picks in this year’s draft. With five current selections at their disposal (7, 26, 29, 32 and 55) and 12 guaranteed contracts already on their books, it’s safe to assume the team will be aggressive in consolidating picks and players.

Obviously not the degree of shooter Hield is, Beasley may approximate his shotmaking enough to fill the hole Hield will leave behind in the Pacers’ offense.

A deal also helps pave the way for more minutes for the likes of Bennedict Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard and Chris Duarte. And with another crop of young players expected to on top of that, it may finally benefit the Pacers to work with the Lakers on a deal.

Lakers receive: Gary Trent Jr and a future second

Raptors receive: Malik Beasley, Shaq Harrison and No. 17

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Why the Lakers do it: Of the options listed thus far, this one feels the most unlikely for a few reasons.

Since Gary Trent Jr has a player option (must decide before the draft), he would have to opt in to help facilitate a trade unless a sign-and-trade is in the works. But given the latter would immediately hardcap the Lakers, the former feels like the preferable route. However, it would have to be negotiated with all parties prior to execution.

If — and that’s a big if — a deal is agreed upon, Trent makes quite a bit of stylistic sense for Los Angeles.

With good size at his position, the combo guard/wing has shown he can be feisty on the defense when engaged. On offense, his off-ball scoring ability would be a nice complement to whomever he shares the floor or backcourt with this season.

According to the league’s tracking data, Trent canned 40.5% of his catch-and-shoot threes this season with the Raptors. The Lakers for comparison, ranked 19th in the league, shooting just 36.2% as a team.

The team has also already been linked to Trent multiple times in the past, and it’s always worth noting that he is represented by Klutch.

There are aspects the Lakers must be weary of before considering a move. Given the new CBA’s apron restrictions, there will lies a risk of losing Trent for nothing in a year. Or, the team will face expensive ramifications if they attempt to retain Trent alongside their own free-agents this summer. On the court, the team should also take into account/project how he may fare in a playoff setting and deem if the move is worth doing.

That said, given their short and longterm plans, there is definite appeal in adding another young player to their core who also could help immediately.

Why the Raptors do it: Toronto may be the most volatile team of the offseason. Internally, they must navigate the futures of not just Trent, but also, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby.

Whether they decide to blow it up or stay the course will ultimately be dependent on if they can retain the services of Siakam and Anunoby — both of whom can potentially be entering the finals years of their deals.

The team then is likely not in position where they can lose significant talent without getting something in return. They are on the verge of doing just that with VanVleet and Trent.

Getting a first-round pick for Trent then feels like fair compensation given the alternative. However, all the parties must work together to make it happen.

You can follow Alex on Twitter at @AlexmRegla.

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