Their Los Angeles Lakers are 3-10 and fading fast.
Time to throw in the towel and join the Tank-O-Rama For Wembanyama you say?
Unfortunately, LA lacks the right to its own draft pick this year, as the New Orleans Pelicans can trade picks with the Lakers if their record is worse than the Pelicans’ (which it almost certainly will be).
The Lakers don’t have a lot of positive trade chips at all compared to the rest of the NBA. HoopsHype just published an intriguing look at what its authors believe are the best and worst traded goods in the league.
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Based on how awful Los Angeles has been looking up to this point in their season, HoopsHype makes an interesting pitch:
“Other than LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers generally lack tradable assets. They hold six of their next seven first-round picks but can only move their first-rounders from 2027 and 2029 due to complications with the Stepien rule [teams cannot trade consecutive draft picks]. With the current course of the Lakers season, it’s no longer controversial to say that they may need to consider trading their All-Stars at some point to bolster their wealth chest and look to the future.
This is fair. Only James and Davis qualify for HoopsHype’s Trade Value Rankings Top 100 list (we’ll talk more about that in a later post), and even then, none of the All-Stars crack the top 20. As you’ll probably recall, can James’ now cannot even be traded into the off-season thanks to the now highly questionable contract extension he signed last summer.
HoopsHype cites rookie wing Max Christie and sophomore guard Austin Reaves as the Lakers’ most intriguing players under the age of 25, which sounds about right.
Most of the other Lakers players who earn more than the veteran minimum would need to be tied to some sort of future draft equity if the team wanted to move from them. Lonnie Walker IV, who signed a $6.5 million mid-level exception, was the only standout to be inked with a deal above the minimum the Lakers could potentially turn over in hopes of a draft pick. What could he get? His stellar numbers are in part the product of necessity, as he scores so many goals for a poor team absolutely desperate for their offense. Would another team be willing to send LA, say, a lottery-protected first-round pick for Walker’s services this season? A high second-round value seems at least tenable.