The NBA trade deadline is right around the corner but, it seems as if this deadline will be a quiet one. Though we have had a ton of rumors, trades have been minuscule this year and at most, we could see a couple of role players being moved. That being said, a few teams are expected to be aggressive as they look to improve their championship odds and one of those teams could be the Los Angeles Lakers.
Though the Lakers are the number one seed in the Western Conference, they are just 14-6 in their last 20 games. Now, context matters and they have had injuries to key players but, this record is still worrisome. Their biggest trade asset is Kyle Kuzma and he could get them an impactful player.
Kuzma has been pretty inconsistent this year but, the team hasn’t put him in the best position to succeed. Kuz us best with the ball in his hands but, he has been nothing more than a stretch four/ catch-and-shoot player alongside LeBron and A.D. this year. When he has started this year, Kuzma is averaging 20.3 points and 5.7 rebounds on 47% shooting from the field and 36% shooting from the three-point line.
Kuzma is still relatively young at 24 and could provide a team with quality play for another 5-7 years. The Lakers have been linked to players such as Derrick Rose and Bogdan Bogdanovic, but they should look to go all out and try to acquire a borderline all-star, such as CJ McCollum.
CJ and the Blazers are currently peaking but, they have a long road ahead of them in their quest to make the playoffs. Lillard has been on a tear as of late but, this Blazers team isn’t title contenders and if they were to somehow make the playoffs, they would just lose to whoever the 1 seed is. It is time for them to rebuild and this trade proposal would jumpstart that.
A potential trade would be CJ McCollum and Anfernee Simons for Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, multiple 2nd round picks, and any additional cap fillers. This move would allow the Blazers to get out of McCollum’s enormous contract and if they decide to keep Lillard and try and contend, this move gives them flexible and the opportunity to go out and add impactful free agents and they would still be able to remain competitive this year.
If they decide to move on from Lillard, he would get them a multitude of high-tier assets such as franchise players and picks. Having Kuzma and other young assets as well as a plethora of draft picks would put the Blazers in a good position as they start to rebuild.
Looking at the Lakers, this trade would solve a multitude of problems for them. McCollum is having the 2nd best season of his career this year as he is putting up 21.6 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game on 45% shooting from the field and 37.7% from three. CJ would be able to alleviate a lot of the offensive pressure on LeBron and AD while also serving as another playmaker, something this team has been needing. McCollum is also a player who elevates his play in the playoffs and that was seen in last years’ playoffs as he averaged nearly 25 points per game on 44% shooting from the field and 39% from three for the Trail Blazers.
Simons could provide them with additional bench scoring and at only 20 years old, he could be an impactful player for this team for many years to come.
The Lakers have other players on the team to compensate for those lost in this trade. Many may look at the loss of Danny Green as big but, he is wildly inconsistent and has not had as good of a season as many may have expected him to. Darren Collison has voiced his desire to return to the NBA and he could provide the Lakers with quality minutes off the bench and serves as a viable replacement for Rajon Rondo.
The loss of Avery Bradley is another one that would be big for the Lakers but, they could look to add other perimeter defenders such as Justin Anderson from free agency or look to acquire one via trade.
All in all, this move seems like a good one for both parties. This move would jumpstart the rebuild for the Blazers and would improve the Lakers odds at winning a championship this season.