If it wasn’t clear from their reported willingness to include a pick swap as well as a first-round pick in their latest offer for Dejounte Murray, the Atlanta Hawks guard seems to fairly obviously be the Lakers’ top target ahead of the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline.
But according to the perpetually plugged-in Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Murray is not the only player the team is prioritizing in the next two weeks. When answering a mailbag question about if the Lakers are trying to add both the former Spurs All-Star point guard as well as Toronto Raptors guard and human trade exception Bruce Brown, Buha reported that the team is indeed still attempting to deal for both:
Are the Lakers looking at landing both Murray and (Bruce) Brown? —@WITNESSKJ
Yes, but it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible given their limited trade assets. They don’t have enough draft capital, in particular, to land both unless Atlanta or Toronto is especially high on Max Christie or Jalen Hood-Schifino and views one of those players as similar to acquiring a draft pick.
Murray and Brown are the Lakers’ top two trade targets at this moment, according to team and league sources. I think those moves, which add a more athletic and defensive-minded scoring guard and another wing that’s an upgrade over the Prince/Hachimura/Vanderbilt trio, are the types of trades that truly elevate the Lakers’ postseason ceiling and give them a clearer starting and closing lineup.
New Lakers mailbag for @TheAthleticNBA:— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) January 26, 2024
— LA prioritizing Dejounte Murray on the trade market
— How D’Angelo Russell’s recent play affects how LA views him
— Austin Reaves remains close to untouchable
— Darvin Ham’s job security and morehttps://t.co/H9s44eZ6U4
Buha additionally wrote that “there are some within the Lakers who believe the team needs to make two moves, not one,” which would seem to be tough to do, at least for both Brown and Murray.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported earlier on Friday that the Hawks want two first-round picks for Murray, while the Raptors are seeking at least one first-rounder for Brown. Even if the Lakers were willing to get creative with their ability to swap both their 2026 and 2028 picks, both the Raptors and Hawks would have to either drop their asking prices or consider those swaps as good as outright extra firsts in order to get this done.
Logistically, then, it seems far more likely the Lakers deal for just one of Brown and Murray rather than both. But even if the Lakers get a deal done at the deadline, or if they just want additional reinforcements, Buha reports that they are expected to go after Kyle Lowry if he’s ultimately bought out by the Charlotte Hornets following the Miami Heat’s trade for Terry Rozier:
Trading Russell without replacing him creates a ballhandling and playmaking hole in your rotation. The Lakers would need another point guard in their rotation — even if it’s merely Brogdon or Jones — at least until Gabe Vincent returns, which remains uncertain. According to team and league sources, Kyle Lowry, who could be available if he’s bought out by Charlotte after being traded there from Miami this week, is one name to watch for the Lakers.
Fischer reported earlier in the day that Lowry is “a potential re-trade candidate for the Hornets, sources said, but also as a potential player on the buyout market, should Charlotte not find a deal for the veteran floor general” and that he is not even expected to report to the Hornets until after the trade deadline. So considering his massive $29 million salary and age (37), it seems more than likely he won’t be absorbed by another team and will instead be bought out in Charlotte after the deadline.
Normally teams in ninth place in their conference aren’t the hottest buyout destination — even if preseason expectations were higher — but due to a quirk in the new CBA that doesn’t allow organizations over the first salary cap apron to sign buyout players like Lowry who were making more than the league average salary (approximately $12.4 million) this season, the Lakers may be a real contender for his services.
- The Heat (who couldn’t sign Lowry anyway unless he’s traded again)
- Golden State Warriors
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Phoenix Suns
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Boston Celtics
- Denver Nuggets
... all can’t sign Lowry right now. So if he doesn’t want to go home to Philadelphia to compete for a title and prefers to remain in a beach city with a potentially bigger role and still be on a playoff (contending) team, the Lakers could be an appealing option.
Do you prefer any of these names over the others? Let us know in the comments below.