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What draft picks do the Lakers still have available?

Win-now moves have largely sapped the Lakers of draft capital right now, but when will the team have picks again in the future?

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2021 NBA Draft Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

As the Lakers look to be trending downward following their title in 2020, the natural inclination is to look towards the future to determine how they can get good again. The most obvious ways to do so are through free agency, the draft, or trades (often using draft picks).

But the Lakers don’t have that luxury of looking toward the draft, at least not in the immediate future. Their trade for Anthony Davis sapped up the vast majority of their outright control over their own draft picks through direct giveaways and picks swaps with the Pelicans, and while the end result was a championship, it also created a team that is going to have very few draft selections in the short-term, and even fewer tradeable picks.

Still, the Lakers are always going to be mentioned in trade rumors as they constantly look to improve, and their limited assets will be oft-discussed as a result. So what assets — particularly draft capital — will the team have available in the future to potentially facilitate those trades? Let’s take a look at where their upcoming draft picks are going and when the team can begin trading them.

An important rule to remember in all of this is the so-called “Stepien Rule,” named after infamous Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien, which prohibits a team from trading first round picks in consecutive years. The workaround for this has been a pick swap in trades, which the Lakers and Pelicans did for Davis, but it means the Lakers can’t trade those picks swaps to other teams.

With that in mind, here is an updating rundown of the draft assets they can (and can’t) deal.

2022 NBA Draft

  • 1st round pick owed to New Orleans (1-10) or Memphis (11-30)
  • 2nd round pick owed to Toronto, San Antonio or Sacramento

One of the picks dealt directly to Pelicans for Davis, the Lakers have no chance of retaining their 2022 first round pick. The pick would go to Memphis if it lands in the top 10, a result of the trade between the Grizzlies and New Orleans that involved Jonas Valančiūnas, Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe last offseason.

As for the second round pick, that was dealt to Washington along with Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones in the 2019 offseason to clear cap space. From there, the pick has been traded multiple times — once as part of the five-team Westbrook trade and more recently with Tomáš Satoranský at the trade deadline — with multiple swap options attached to it, resulting in three different teams potentially getting it depending on where it lands relative to picks from other teams.

Honestly, it got confusing trying to track down all the exact trades. The important part is the Lakers will not have the rights to it, either.

2023 NBA Draft

Just because the Lakers can’t trade first round picks doesn’t mean they won’t have any. In 2023, the Lakers will begin a complicated series of pick swap options with the Pelicans. Simply put, New Orleans has the right to swap picks with the Lakers and take whichever pick between their’s and Los Angeles’ is better for multiple years. The Lakers will have the worst of the two picks.

In the second round, the Lakers have not traded away their draft pick (yet) and actually received Chicago’s second round pick as part of the Westbrook trade.

2024 NBA Draft

  • 1st round pick potentially owed to Pelicans
  • 2nd round pick owed to Memphis
  • MEM/WAS 2nd round pick owned

The Lakers will have an interesting situation arise in 2024, if the world still exists by then. The Pelicans have the right to take the Lakers’ 2024 pick, or they could simply kick it down the road a year and take the team’s 2025 pick. Because the Lakers won’t know where their pick goes until, presumably, after the draft lottery and the order is set, this pick won’t be tradeable until just before the draft at the earliest, if at all.

The Lakers traded their 2024 second round pick with Marc Gasol to the Grizzlies this summer, but will get the worst of Washington or Memphis’s second round choices in return.

2025 NBA Draft

  • 1st round pick potentially owed to Pelicans
  • 2nd round pick owned

Again, the Pelicans will own one of the Lakers 2024 or 2025 first round picks, but only one of them. But because of the nature of the trade, the Lakers won’t know which one they have until 2024, which is why neither pick is tradeable right now.

The team has not traded its second round pick.

2026 NBA Draft

  • 1st round pick owned
  • 2nd round pick owed to Cleveland

The Lakers outright own their 2026 pick, but they can not trade it yet because they will not know if they own their 2025 pick until the Pelicans make their decision in 2024. Confused yet? Eventually, this could be the next pick the Lakers could trade, but that won’t be known for multiple years.

The team’s second round pick was traded to Cleveland along with JaVale McGee in November of 2020 in return for Alfonzo McKinnie and Jordan Bell.

2027 NBA Draft

  • 1st round pick owned
  • 2nd round pick owned

Right now, this is the first year the Lakers can trade their first round pick. Why? They know they’ll have their 2026 and 2028 first round picks, allowing them to trade the 2027 pick without breaking the Stepien Rule.

They also have not traded their second round pick.

2028 NBA Draft

  • 1st round pick owned
  • 2nd round pick owned
  • WAS 2nd round pick owned

The Lakers own both of their picks in 2028, plus own Washington’s second round draft pick as part of the Westbrook trade.

2029 NBA Draft

  • 1st round pick owned
  • 2nd round pick owned

The Lakers own both of their picks in 2029 because they are not yet tradeable. Teams can only trade picks seven years into the future, which means they can’t trade a 2029 draft pick until the 2022 offseason.

What does this all mean?

For now, the Lakers will have two first round draft picks — albeit in 2027 and 2029 — to offer to teams this summer in trades, potentially to either offload Westbrook’s contract or bring in a potential star player... or a trade that accomplishes both.

Stay tuned to this page, as we will continue to update it with more draft pick information as the team’s situation develops. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.