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What draft picks can the Lakers use before the NBA trade deadline?

With the Lakers looking to make a move before the NBA trade deadline, here are the draft picks they have available to get a deal done.

Celebrities At The Los Angeles Lakers Game Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

With the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline fast approaching, the Lakers are reportedly looking to make upgrades at the guard position, with Dejounte Murray and D'Angelo Russell being the two names linked together the most in rumors.

A move has not been made and it seems draft draft picks are a sticking point holding up the deal.

What's the problem with the Lakers draft capital and what could they package in a deal for someone like Murray?

The biggest reason the Lakers are slim in draft picks is because they traded for Anthony Davis. The acquisition of Davis was obviously the right decision, as the team won the 2020 NBA title and has a future hall-famer on the roster for years to come.

They also gave up their 2027 first-round selection to the Jazz last season as part of the Russell trade, which proved to be a good move as it helped spark the Lakers from a sub-.500 team to the Western Conference Finals.

The Davis deal initially involved Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, the 2019 no. 4 pick, a top-8 protected 2021 first-rounder that became unprotected in 2022, a pick swap in 2023 and an unprotected 2024 first-rounder that the Pelicans can defer to 2025.

The Stepien Rule is important to remember in this and any other trades the Lakers may make. The rule was named after Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien, which prohibits a team from trading first-round picks in consecutive years.

The workaround for this has been to include a pick swap in trades instead of sending the pick itself, both of which the Lakers gave the Pelicans for Davis.

New Orleans still owns one more first-round draft pick. They can take the Lakers' 2024 or 2025 first-round pick, but only one, meaning once they select one, the other will be 100% owned by the Lakers. The Stepien Rule has to always be kept in mind when packaging picks to see what is possible versus what picks you have available.

With all of that context out of the way, here is an updated rundown of the draft assets they can deal.

Pick the Lakers can trade now

  • 2029 1st round pick
  • 2030 1st round pick
  • 2024 2nd round pick (from LAC)
  • 2025 2nd round pick
  • 2025 2nd round pick (from LAC)
  • 2027 2nd round pick
  • 2030 2nd round pick

The Lakers have these picks to trade but can only trade away one of the first-round selections, again, because of the Stepien Rule.

For the rest of the picks, the Lakers are free to move them and have the right to do so. Both the 2024 and 2025 second-round picks come from the Clippers as part of the Patrick Beverley-Thomas Bryant-Mo Bamba trade.

Picks the Lakers can't trade but can still own/could use later

  • 2024 1st round pick
  • 2025 1st round pick
  • 2026 1st round pick
  • 2028 1st round pick

As discussed earlier, the Pelicans own the rights to either the 2024 or ‘25 first-round pick, so the Lakers can not trade until the Pelicans make a choice. When do the Pelicans have to decide which Lakers draft pick they’re taking? That date isn’t public knowledge, but it’s some point around June 1, 2024, as reported by our own Cooper Halpern.

That also means they can't trade the 2026 because if New Orleans takes the 25 pick, the Stepien Rule would apply, and the 2026 pick would not be a selection they could trade.

The Lakers own the 2028 first-round selection but can't be moved because the Utah Jazz owns the Lakers 2027 first-round selection.

I know, I know, it can be confusing.

With so many picks hanging in the balance based on the Pelicans' decision, it does have the Lakers considering the possibility of trading for Donovan Mitchell or Trae Young in the offseason instead of making a move now.

The Lakers could have up to three first-round draft picks to trade if they keep their current assets on draft night and with that much draft capital and some good role players, they can acquire an All-Star caliber player this summer.

Russell's recent play may have played his way out of Dejounte Murray trade talks, meaning the Lakers might see keeping this unit together and punting a big trade until the summer as the best move.

The good news is the Lakers have plenty of options.

They can stay as is and see if they can go on a run, make a trade to help the team now, or wait and have even more draft picks to package for a big trade later.

This is why you hire and trust vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka to make the right decision. It's all about raising banner No. 18, so the question is, what option gets them there faster?

We'll know if the Lakers think a trade now is the move soon enough.

You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.

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