The Los Angeles Lakers are currently 7th in the Western Conference, and they have had an erratic and inconsistent season this year. They are currently 16-15, and they are far from the contending team that many people envisioned.
Usually, teams with a lot of star power like the Los Angeles Lakers have championship expectations. Obviously, they don't look like they can fulfill those expectations as of right now, so perhaps a trade is necessary to help them reach the level they want to get to.
In this trade scenario, the Los Angeles Lakers would acquire 3 solid players from the Sacramento Kings in Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley, and Tristan Thompson. They would send out Russell Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker.
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley, Tristan Thompson
Sacramento Kings Receive: Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker
Sacramento Kings Shake Things Up And Get A Young Prospect
At first glance, it would be hard to see why the Sacramento Kings would do such a trade. However, there are definitely reasons for the Sacramento Kings to try and get this deal done.
Russell Westbrook could potentially become a free agent after this season if he declines his player option. He could try and sign a new long-term deal elsewhere on a competitor. If he does end up doing so, the Sacramento Kings would get a lot of salary off the books, as Buddy Hield's contract that runs through the 2023-24 season would be moved. There have been a lot of rumors saying that Buddy Hield would be traded, so perhaps this is the deal to get it done. Buddy Hield has also reportedly had a problem with his sixth man role for the Kings in the past, and this trade to the Lakers would let him start.
If Russell Westbrook ends up accepting his player option, then they could trade him later on, as he'd have value as an All-Star caliber player on top of being an expiring contract.
Marvin Bagley hasn't played like the Sacramento Kings expected him to when they drafted him as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. His contract runs out at the end of the 2021-22 season, and it is quite likely that he'll want a lucrative long-term contract at the end of that season. Sending Bagley out in this trade would be a prudent financial move for the Sacramento Kings, as they'd be able to avoid giving Bagley a contract.
The main attraction in this deal for the Sacramento Kings is acquiring Talen Horton-Tucker. The Kings employ a three-guard system when the squad is fully healthy, so adding another guard would be fine for them. Talen Horton-Tucker would definitely get touches whether he is starting or coming off the bench. Adding Horton-Tucker to their other talented guards in De'Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell and Tyrese Haliburton would give the Kings a solid young core.
Overall, the two main reasons to do this trade are to move off some salary and potential future salary, as well as getting a young prospect in return. Tristan Thompson would be the salary filler here. If Russell Westbrook accepts his player option, then they'd get to move him for other assets as well.
The Los Angeles Lakers Get 3 Players That Can Fit In Their System
For the Los Angeles Lakers this trade makes a fair amount of sense. With Russell Westbrook moved, LeBron James would once again be the point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. The last time that the Los Angeles Lakers had LeBron James as the full-time point guard, they won the NBA championship.
Buddy Hield isn't necessarily a better player than Russell Westbrook, but he could be a better fit with LeBron James due to his elite shooting. In fact, the Los Angeles Lakers were reportedly interested in moving for Buddy Hield prior to finalizing the Russell Westbrook deal during the summer.
The ideal lineup for the Los Angeles Lakers would be this: LeBron James/Buddy Hield/Carmelo Anthony/Marvin Bagley/Anthony Davis. They would have 3 solid shooters surrounding Marvin Bagley and Anthony Davis, who can also space the floor themselves a little bit from the midrange area. Adding good scorers/shooters around LeBron James is a good formula for success.
The Los Angeles Lakers would acquire Tristan Thompson in this scenario to get an athletic veteran for the bench. He has won a championship with LeBron James before, and he'd certainly be a tough voice in the locker room. Thompson's rebounding and defense would be useful for the Lakers as well.
From the Lakers' perspective, this trade would move one of the Lakers stars in Russell Westbrook to get some solid players that could be a better fit with LeBron James. We know that LeBron James and Anthony Davis are a championship-caliber duo: but the key is getting the right pieces around them.