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10 Lakers Players Will Be Eligible For Trades After Dec. 15: "Lakers Must Land One More Star"

10 Lakers Players Will Be Eligible For Trades After Dec. 15: 'It Will Be A Very Interesting Trade Deadline'

Despite all the big moves they made during the offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers are struggling this season. The Lakers overhauled their entire team, getting rid of almost every player in their team from last season other than LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Talen Horton-Tucker.

The Lakers made a more veteran-based squad during the offseason, bringing in older players on cheap contracts in order to accommodate Russell Westbrook's massive contract. And so far, that move hasn't worked out the way they hoped, with the Lakers having an inconsistent start to the season.

And it appears they will have a chance to fix things. In a report published by Sam Quinn, it was revealed that 10 of the Lakers' players will become eligible for trades next week, on December 15th. Here is a breakdown of key dates in the Lakers' near future.

Key Dates

  • Dec. 15, 2021: Ten of the 11 free agents the Lakers signed this offseason become eligible for trades. Those players are DeAndre Jordan, Rajon Rondo, Carmelo Anthony, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza, Malik Monk, Kent Bazemore, Dwight Howard, Austin Reaves and Kendrick Nunn. The Lakers play their 29th game on this date.
  • Dec. 17, 2021: Avery Bradley becomes eligible for a trade as 60 days have passed since he was claimed off waivers. The Lakers play their 30th game on this date.
  • Jan. 7, 2022: Bradley's contract becomes guaranteed for the season. If he is waived before this point, the Lakers can get out of the rest of his deal. The Lakers play their 40th game on this date.
  • Jan. 15, 2022: Talen Horton-Tucker becomes trade-eligible. His date is different from the other free agents the Lakers signed this offseason because he was a free agent with Bird Rights that is making more than the minimum and received a raise greater than 20 percent. The Lakers play their 43rd game on this date.
  • Feb. 10, 2022: The NBA trade deadline arrives. The Lakers will have played 56 games by this date.
  • March 1, 2022: Any buyout candidate who wishes to be eligible for the playoffs with a new team must be waived by his old team by this date. The Lakers play their 61st game on this date.

These players include Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, Wayne Ellington, Malik Monk, Carmelo Anthony, Austin Reaves, Kent Bazemore, Kendrick Nunn, Trevor Ariza, and DeAndre Jordan. Avery Bradley will become eligible for trade just 2 days later on December 17th. 

It is believed by many that this will be a very interesting trade deadline with the Lakers potentially getting rid of players that have not performed to the level that they were expected to when they were initially signed by the Lakers. On top of that, they need at least one more reliable star on their roster

Players like Carmelo Anthony, Malik Monk, Dwight Howard, and Austin Reaves will probably be safe from the trade block, as they have been performing well, with Anthony even exceeding expectations and establishing himself as a contender for Sixth Man Of The Year. 

But players like DeAndre Jordan and Trevor Ariza could be moved in order to bring in someone else. Jordan has been poor, despite initially starting for the Lakers at the center position. As for Ariza, he has been injured so far, and with his age, there may be a concern that these injury issues will persist.

The Lakers could trade someone like Russell Westbrook, who has not worked out the way they had hoped and is becoming more of a liability than an asset. There are several destinations where Westbrook could end up

Perhaps the Lakers would want to bring in Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes, which could be possible through this blockbuster three-team trade involving the 76ers and Sacramento Kings.

Quinn also identified some potential players that the Lakers could trade for. These include Robert Covington, Buddy Hield (whom the Lakers almost acquired during the offseason), Cam Reddish, TJ Warren, Larry Nance Jr., Kyle Anderson, and Josh Hart, and explained why these players may be available for the Lakers.

Possibly available

  • Robert Covington: Fully depends on a Blazers blowup that doesn't appear imminent. He's worked well as a small-ball five next to Westbrook before, but he's more of a help-defender than a man-to-man stopper. The Lakers need the latter more than the former.
  • Buddy Hield: We know the Lakers were interested a few months ago, and not much has happened that should have changed Sacramento's desire to move him. It would essentially amount to waving a white flag defensively, but the offensive upside of pairing him with the three incumbent stars would be enormous.
  • Cam Reddish: He's represented by Klutch and the Hawks shopped him before the draft. Horton-Tucker has an extra year of team control and Trae Young's gravity would mask his weaknesses well. The Lakers could retain an upside prospect, but get one that makes more sense on their current roster as a forward.
  • T.J. Warren: A home-run swing. The 2019-20 version of Warren was a stout defender and stellar shooter that could create his own looks and function alongside higher-usage teammates. He's hardly played since. The Pacers would probably be open to moving his expiring contract rather than paying him, but giving up enough to land him given his injuries would be an enormous risk.
  • Larry Nance Jr.: Falls into the "if Portland triggers a rebuild" category. He's played with James and he's played for the Lakers, but his defense and short-roll playmaking are the main attractions here.
  • Kyle Anderson: Having a disappointing contract year and the Grizzlies have proven willing to trade veterans in the name of their future. His defense from last season would be very welcome, but he's regressed this season and he's never made 3's at a consistently high volume.
  • Josh Hart: Another former Laker who brings a bit of defense, a bit of shooting and a bit of ball-handling. He's young enough for the Pelicans to want to keep despite their struggles, but he can hit free agency as soon as 2023 at a position in which the Pelicans have a fair bit of young talent. 

Quinn also suggested some players who could become available through the buyout market, as they agree to a buyout with their current teams, and become free agents. He also named some active free agents that the Lakers could sign up, including Kevin Love and Marvin Bagley III.

Buyout targets and current free agents

  • Kevin Love: Made sense at one point considering his rebounding and shooting, but he was reportedly unwilling to take a buyout before the season and the odds have only decreased now that Cleveland is winning. It would have been an interesting fit as he played with Westbrook in college and James in the NBA, but he's probably not going to be available.
  • Gary Harris: Was once one of the NBA's better 3-and-D players. The 3 regressed long ago and his defense is starting to as well, but he's only 27, so he might be able to turn things around in the right setting.
  • Goran Dragic: Dallas is almost certainly landing him if he gets bought out considering his friendship with Luka Doncic, but if the Lakers have to give up multiple bench ball-handlers in a trade, Dragic could help replenish their supply if he's interested.
  • Tristan Thompson: Would certainly be an improvement on DeAndre Jordan, but there just aren't many traditional center minutes available here.
  • Robin Lopez: Lopez is in the same situation as Thompson, but lacks his experience alongside James.
  • Marvin Bagley III: He's worked his way back into the rotation in Sacramento, so a buyout doesn't seem likely, but they couldn't find a trade and he's probably not staying there as a free agent this offseason. He still has plenty of offensive upside.
  • Tomas Satoransky: Probably not a steady enough shooter to get real minutes for the Lakers, but high-IQ ball-handlers are always useful for the regular season at least.
  • James Ennis: Wants to be a Laker and is still unsigned. Eventually, someone is going to need wing defense enough to add him despite his inconsistent shooting.
  • Wesley Matthews: It's not fully clear why he hasn't signed with anyone yet even considering the somewhat disappointing year he just had for the Lakers. Can still help as a 3-and-D wing.
  • Darren Collison: Was once a stellar shooter who defended guards at a decent enough level. The Lakers worked him out this offseason, but there's no telling how well he can play after more than two years off. 

Kevin Love could be a serious option for them in the buyout market, despite Quinn thinking it's not easy. Even a player like John Wall, who is also exiled by his team the Rockets, could become an option later down the line, as he is becoming a headache for his own team.

Acquiring Wall or, acquiring Kevin Love and Kemba Walker could help solve their problems. Both have had a fall from grace over the last few seasons, and want to prove their ability to contribute at a high level on a championship team. The Lakers have gambled with older players, and they could go down that route again.

The Lakers need something to change soon. As things stand, they will not be able to win the NBA championship. Of course, things could change, and the Lakers could build momentum with their current crop of players. But that would be really tough, and the Lakers need to start assessing their options of bringing in one more star.