After a disappointing first-round exit, the Los Angeles Lakers have a huge offseason ahead of them. It’s clear that the team cannot compete with just LeBron James and this roster. The loss of Anthony Davis made this team vulnerable for the future, which means that the Lakers will need to retool this roster fast.
Looking ahead, the Lakers have a large number of free agents that will need looking at. That includes the following:
- Talen Horton-Tucker (restricted)
- Kostas Antetokounmpo (restricted)
- Devontae Cacok (restricted)
- Montrezl Harrell (player option)
- Andre Drummond (free agent)
- Dennis Schroder (free agent)
- Alex Caruso (free agent)
- Jared Dudley (free agent)
- Wesley Matthews (free agent)
- Ben McLemore (free agent)
- Markieff Morris (free agent)
Realistically, the Lakers cannot sign all of these players. They do not have the cap space to land a third star and bring back all of their depth. With that said, the Lakers have been currently rumored to be engaged in a lot of potential trade targets. These 10 players are the most realistic players that could land in Los Angeles.
10. Jerami Grant
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, 2023 Second-Round Pick, 2027 First-Round Pick
Grant is coming off a career-high with the Detroit Pistons. Grant averaged 22.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. Had the Pistons had a better record, Grant would have been talked about more often for the Most Improved Player of the Year Award.
The Pistons are not going to be competing with Grant in the fold. He has two years left on his deal and his value is at an all-time high. It would take Kuzma, Harrell, and a few drafts picks, but the Lakers would have a bona fide scorer that could start or come off the bench. Grant could easily start with LeBron playing the point guard position. If not, Grant would have his excellence displayed on a national stage and then he would be inserted in the conversation more often.
9. Buddy Hield
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell
For similar reasons as Dinwiddie, this would take moving two players for the cost of one. Kuzma has the potential to build around. Two years ago, he averaged 18.7 points, but his numbers have dipped when talent built around the team. The Kings and Buddy Hield need to move on from each other. Hield is not in the long-term plans, while Kuzma could be.
For the Lakers, Hield would give the team a player like Lou Williams during his prime with the Clippers. Hield can average 20 points per game and owns a career three-point field goal percentage over 40%. If playing consistently, Hield can provide offense any given night.
8. Spencer Dinwiddie (Sign-and-Trade)
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso (sign-and-trade)
Dinwiddie is widely expected to turn down his player’s option with the Brooklyn Nets. Even though Dinwiddie played just three games, he has a high ceiling with his 2019-2020 season where he averaged 20.6 points per game. This move would be to build for the Lakers bench by adding a potential Sixth Man of the Year contender.
It would take the Nets to sign Dinwiddie to a deal that the Lakers can absorb. It would cost at least two bench pieces for the Lakers to upgrade at the position.
7. John Wall
Trade Package: (Buyout)
The most realistic target for the Lakers is easily John Wall. At this stage in his career, Wall is no longer the All-Star player that can average 20 points and 10 assists every night. The injury-prone Wall has not played over 70 games in a season since 2016. Wall is due $44 million next season and $47 million (player option) the following year. The Rockets have a long rebuild and this salary cannot be in their plans.
If Wall wants to go title-chasing, and he should at the age of 30 with his injury history), then agreeing to a buyout and signing with the Lakers is his best option. The Lakers will need a starting point guard. Even before Wall was injured, he had a respectable 20.6 points and 6.9 assist stat line. In this scenario, everyone gets a chance to get better. Most importantly, it makes the most sense for all parties.
6. Collin Sexton
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker (sign-and-trade), 2027 First-Round Pick
The Cavaliers are rumored to be ready to move on from Collin Sexton as he enters a contract year. The Cavaliers have Darius Garland and are rumored to be more in favor of him. If that is true, the Cavaliers have a chance to cash in on a 22-year old point guard that averaged 24.3 points and 4.4 assists last year.
If Schroder leaves for money, the Lakers can roll the dice with Sexton for one year. It would cost Kuzma, their young piece in Horton-Tucker, and a future first-round pick. With the cap space, the Lakers would likely be able to re-sign Caruso and make a dynamic punch at the point guard position.
5. Mike Conley Jr. (Sign-And-Trade)
Trade Package: Dennis Schroder (sign-and-trade), Montrezl Harrell
Conley is another sign-and-trade candidate, but a more realistic target. Even though the Jazz was fighting with the Lakers for the No. 1 seed before Lebron and Anthony Davis sustained injuries, this would not be a bad idea to make a move with their rival. If rumors about Conley leaving are true, the Jazz needs to recoup some sort of value in return.
Conley is coming off his first All-Star appearance. At 33 years old, Conley is not going to get another opportunity for a large contract. If he chooses that path, Jazz could replace the position with Schroder. Harrell would be a great backup for Rudy Gobert. This would essentially upgrade both teams given the circumstances.
4. Kyle Lowry (Sign-and-Trade)
Trade Package: Dennis Schroder (sign-and-trade), Kyle Kuzma
The Lakers could have had Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline but refused to part with Talen Horton-Tucker. Instead, the team waited for the buyout market. Hindsight is 20-20, but adding Lowry instead of Andre Drummond seems like the better option today.
The Lakers cannot sign Lowry outright with their limited cap space. There’s also speculation that Lowry is going to resign with the Raptors. It would take the salary of Schroder and a piece like the 25-year old Kuzma to complete this trade with Toronto.
3. Myles Turner
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Talen Horton-Tucker (sign-and-trade)
The Andre Drummond experiment didn’t work. The Lakers thought they were going to get a player that averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds. Instead, they got two-thirds of that player. With Drummond likely seeking a max contract, the Lakers cannot afford him. If they want to replace the position with a true defensive center, then the Lakers need to give the Indiana Pacers a call.
Turner averaged 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and a career-high 3.4 blocks. Had Turner played the league minimum, he would have led the league in blocks. The Lakers won a championship built around defense. Adding Turner would make the Lakers a premier defensive powerhouse.
2. Kemba Walker
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, 2025 First-Round Pick
A sign-and-trade with Schroder is unlikely if the Lakers completed a trade with the Thunder. The Thunder are fully rebuilding and taking a 28-year old point guard who will receive the highest salary of his career is not in their long-term plans.
Taking Kuzma on a team-friendly deal with potentially one year of Harrell would make sense for the Thunder. As the team is developing young talent, this would allow the team to get the large contract Walker off their books. Meanwhile, the Lakers would get a legit third scoring option that is an All-Star caliber point guard. When healthy, Walker is as good as he is at commanding the ball.
1. DeMar DeRozan (Sign-and-Trade)
Trade Package: Dennis Schroder (sign-and-trade), Kyle Kuzma
Schroder could command a salary above $15 million after averaging 15.4 points and 5.8 assists as the team’s starting point guard. While Schroder put up solid numbers, it’s clear that his role is more suited to coming off the bench. With LeBron James playing at a high level, the Laker’s offense played its best when LeBron was the point guard.
DeMar DeRozan was rumored to be on the Lakers’ radar at the deadline, but Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is notorious for wanting to refuse business with the Lakers. With DeRozan set to be a free agent, a sign-and-trade would be the best path for the Spurs. DeRozan will be 32 this season and is coming off a season that produced 21.6 points per game. DeRozan would be a perfect offensive tool to help keep the offensive afloat.