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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 have trended downward following their title in 2020, the natural inclination is to look towards the future to determine how they once again reach the NBA’s mountaintop. The most obvious modes of improvement are through free agency, the draft, or trades (often sweetened with draft picks).

But the Lakers don’t have the luxury of looking forward to future picks, having dealt the majority of their own upcoming draft choices in the trade for Anthony Davis by way of pick swaps and direct giveaways to the Pelicans. While the end result was the franchise’s 17th championship, the transaction left the team with very few selections in the short-term, and even fewer tradeable picks.

Still, as Lakers attempt to rebound this season by potentially making a franchise-altering trade, their extremely limited assets again have become the center of discussion.

So exactly 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 already 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 to include a pick swap in trades instead of sending the pick itself, both of which the Lakers gave the Pelicans did for Davis. But with those outgoing swap rights gone, the Lakers will be unable to trade swaps in lieu of picks for the years they’ve already sent out.

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

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 then end up with the worse of the two picks.

In next year’s 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 lesser of Washington or Memphis’ 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, due to the aforementioned Stepien Rule which prevents the trading of first round picks in back-to-back drafts.

It’s confusing, I know.

Eventually, this could be the next pick the Lakers could trade, but they won’t know if they can do so for at least a couple more 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 that pesky Stepien Rule.

They also have not traded their second round pick.

2028 NBA Draft

  • 1st round pick owned
  • Less favorable of 2nd round pick between own and Washington

As part of the trade with the Magic that landed the Lakers the No. 35 pick and, eventually, Max Christie in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Lakers will owe Orlando the more favorable of either their own or Washington’s second round pick.

2029 NBA Draft

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

The Lakers own both of their picks in 2029, which became tradeable only at the start of the 2022 offseason.

What does this all mean?

For now, the Lakers will have two first round draft picks — albeit as far away as 2027 and 2029 — to offer to teams this summer in trades, to potentially either offload Westbrook’s contract or bring in yet another star player... or, optimally, accomplish both in one big move. They will also likely have first-round picks in 2023, 2025, 2026 and 2028 — and second-round picks in many of those years — albeit not tradeable firsts due to restrictions stemming from other deals. So long story short, the team is not quite as bereft of draft capital as you may believe. They just can’t move very much of it right now.

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.

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