The Lakers were very fortunate to keep the Pick which looks to be the final 1st Round selection they will have for a few years. As the Lakers front works out prospects the many options become to make a blockbuster trade for established talent or draft from a deep and talented list that includes Lonzo Ball, De’Aaron Fox, Josh Jackson or (if the Celtics somehow pass on) Markelle Fultz and really focus on Free Agency.
Every year during Free Agency rumors and speculations link almost every eligible player to the Lakers, and there’s no doubt this off season will be a big one for them. They can go from lottery team to contenders withing a few days, LA is once again buzzing as a prime marquee location for anybody looking to build their brand, but a potential problem could present itself. They have $81.5 MM committed in salaries by the beginning of the 2017-18 season, both Deng and Mozgov amount for $32.5 MM of that so ridding one of those, PREFERABLY Deng needs to be removed from the payroll.
2 Best options where they can trade the #2 pick along with other assets
I narrowed it down to 2 options because the Lakers have so much young talent with high ceilings and with so much talent available in this upcoming Free Agency, there’s no real desperation to land a trade for an Elite. Also, trading for Paul George should not be a serious consideration because if he is interested in coming to LA, he could willingly walk from Indy and make his way to the Lakers the following year. In 1 year’s time he will be a Free Agent and the Lakers will be 1 more year matured and developed to receive his presence.
Trade for Jimmy Butler
This trade makes sense for both the Lakers and Bulls if they were to deal. Jimmy is locked down for 3 years while consistently getting better and if all the “Paul George to LA” speculations are true, a lineup with Jimmy and PG would be very deadly, expensive, but very effective. As for Chicago, the best fits would be the 2017 #2 Pick / #28 Pick / 2018 2nd Round Pick / Julius Randle / Luol Deng because in the event that Wade and Rondo leave the Bulls would have 4 back up plans they can build around along with Michael Carter-Williams while the Lakers land Jimmy Buckets.
Trading for Kristaps Porzingis
What direction are the Knicks taking? Bring back Derrick Rose and try halfhearted to build around Kristaps starting with the 8th Pick? It’s also certain Carmelo stays unless a trade to an approved location by him is made. New York is certainly not a dream destination to play and Kristaps is undoubtedly fed up. The Lakers have youth, direction, guidance and depth. An offer of the 2017 2nd Pick / 28th Pick / 2018 2nd Round Pick / Timofey Mozgov, paired with the Knicks own 8th Pick could bring in a fresh start much needed in New York and a clearer sense of direction. I’m low balling the cost on Kristaps, but then again crazier things have occurred in the NBA and Phil Jackson could do the Lakers a solid.
Los Angeles Lakers: Focus On The Future
It’s important to focus on the development of the current roster, filled with youth and potential, keeping the group together could eventually pay out and so drafting one more player is the ideal thing to do. It’s been a Warriors and LeBron era, but the times are changing, competition and teams built through the draft are on the rise. Just like the Warriors, the Lakers can build a dynasty through the draft. Each and every player on the roster has a goal to meet before the beginning of next season, the expectations are high and the plan has to be met. There is a sense that the Lakers are on the right path and everyone from past and present are on board. Faith and trust should be given to the Lakers Front Office lead by Magic and Pelinka as they are committed and focused on getting the organization back on top.