Recent reports have suggested that free agents DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have an interest in joining the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. The two were former teammates with the Toronto Raptors and helped the franchise achieve its most success from 2013 to 2018. The last three years, the two have been apart since the Raptors traded DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs, where he has played ever since.
Now, the veterans have the choice to choose where they want to play. DeRozan and Lowry aren’t the only ones that have options either. As the offseason approaches, the Lakers might be able to reverse the script. Originally, it appeared that they could be salary capped and could see most of their top role players leave. With a little bit of magic, the Lakers could create a new narrative.
As of now, the odds have the Brooklyn Nets favored to win the NBA championship. The Nets have a true super team right now with Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant. With that said, the Lakers could be the ones to create the real super team next season.
Trade For Russell Westbrook
Trade Package: Dennis Schroder (sign-and-trade), Talen Horton-Tucker (sign-and-trade), 2021 No. 22 Pick
Lowry isn’t the only point guard that the Lakers have their eyes on. Since the Milwaukee Bucks eliminated the Phoenix Suns, reports have surfaced that Chris Paul will be a target. However, right around the time these reports surfaced, it was also said that the Lakers have their eye on the 32-year old Westbrook, who is coming off a season in which he averaged a triple-double for the fourth time in his career.
Westbrook averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, 11.7 assists, and 1.4 steals last season. Even though he is approaching his mid-30s, Westbrook is still one of the most athletic players in the league. With his quickness and explosiveness, he would be a perfect fit next to LeBron James.
The question would be his salary, which would be over $41 million next season. Schroder is likely to command a salary close to $20 million. Horton-Tucker will make just over $1.2 million, but he would have to be included to give the Washington Wizards some young talent. It would all be worth it to bring Westbrook to the team, who could draw multiple defenders away from their spot to open so much more for this Lakers offense.
DeMar DeRozan (Sign-and-Trade)
Trade Package (sign-and-trade): Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell (player option picked up)
In this scenario, the Lakers would only bring in one of the Raptors as Westbrook is younger and the more athletic point guard than Kyle Lowry. However, the Lakers could bring in DeMar DeRozan, who is just 31 years old and coming off a season where he averaged 21.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. His assist count was a career-high.
DeRozan is a career 46% shooter from the field. This would allow Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to come off the bench. This is a better role for KCP, as DeRozan is the all-around better player. DeRozan was linked to the Lakers at the trade deadline, but no deal was done as head coach Gregg Popovich is notorious for staying away from conducting business with the Lakers.
This time is different for the 73-year old coach. DeRozan could be on the move for nothing as his contract ran out. At least if the Spurs do business with the Lakers, they would get a young player in Kuzma, who has two years left on his deal. As for Harrell, it would be just a one-year deal and they would get a former Sixth Man of the Year inserted into their rotation.
Sign Carmelo Anthony
After a successful season with the Trail Blazers, Anthony is set to become a free agent. The 37-year old took his role of coming off the bench in stride. He averaged 13.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and shot 42.1% from the field. This deal seems like it would make the most sense for all parties given the relationship that Anthony has with LeBron James.
Anthony would potentially even have a better season than last year by playing for a franchise that would welcome him with open arms. Anthony would know most of these veterans through All-Star games, Olympics, and just everyday operations of playing in the league. More importantly, he can still provide you with close to 15 points each night off the bench.
Anthony has never played in the NBA Finals. The Lakers are all about getting to the NBA Finals. If it meant getting his first NBA ring, Anthony would probably do just about anything for this team. What would make this situation even better is that he would be more inclined to take the veteran’s minimum if it meant Westbrook and DeRozan were added to the mix.
Sign Kevin Love (After Buyout)
The Cavaliers tried to trade Kevin Love at the trade deadline. It didn’t work. They are trying to move him now. With Love set to make $31 million this season and $28 million next season, it would be in the Cavaliers’ best interest to find a way to reach an agreement on a buyout.
The Cavaliers are not going to compete with Love on the roster. They are years away from contending and Love is 32 years old. He has played a combined 103 games over the last three seasons. Last year, Love averaged 12.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in just 25 games played.
Love is rumored to be healthy, which could mean the Cavaliers could hang onto him until the season starts and let him play. That would get the team more value. With that said, the Cavaliers could also complete a buyout, which would allow Love to choose where he wants to go. We saw Blake Griffin join a superteam with the Nets. We could see Love do the same thing if he is given the opportunity.
The Lakers are set at the center with Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol. Both are proven veteran champions with Davis winning a title in 2020 and Gasol winning in 2019. There is no upgrade needed at this position as the superteam would be set.
Let’s assume that this roster would have the following pieces. In the starting lineup, you would have Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Marc Gasol. Davis is traditionally a power forward but can play center. For starting purposes, we would need Gasol to start at the center until the Lakers wanted to go smaller.
Coming off the bench, the Lakers would have Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Love. If there was a way to keep Alex Caruso on the team, that would be even better. Right there, the Lakers would have a team that would be at least nine players deep. In the NBA, you only need a set rotation of eight to nine players and this superteam could probably hang with anyone.
As previously mentioned, the Nets have a strong starting lineup with Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Joe Harris, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan. Blake Griffin is a free agent but is expected to resign. Pending what Spencer Dinwiddie does in free agency, as well as the development of Bruce Brown, the Nets would have a strong superteam as well. In this case, the Lakers would be able to compete with the Nets, and potentially take them down in a seven-game series.
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