The Los Angeles Lakers have stayed put at the trade deadline, with no trades being made. They didn't address the need for their roster via trade, but there is still another option for them: the buyout market. There are a lot of players who would relish the chance to win a championship next to LeBron James.
The Los Angeles Lakers do have two open roster spots, which means they will likely be active in pursuing free agents to help LeBron James potentially win a championship.
The biggest priority for the Los Angeles Lakers is to acquire a big man: they have missed the athletic presence of Dwight Howard this season, and more depth could potentially help them win a championship. They could also use a perimeter defender. With that being said, here are the best buyout candidates for the Los Angeles Lakers.
5. Gorgui Dieng
Gorgui Dieng is a solid buyout candidate who currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies. Dieng is on the last year of his deal and has averaged 7.9 PPG and 4.5 RPG for the Grizzlies, while also spacing the floor (47.9% from 3PT range). Dieng could be a primary buyout candidate for the Grizzlies, as he is a veteran center on a rebuilding team.
The Los Angeles Lakers were not too enamored with Marc Gasol's performance, and that means they could be on the lookout for a big man who can shoot and defend. If Gorgui Dieng was bought out, then he'd be the perfect center to replace Gasol.
4. Avery Bradley
Avery Bradley has already played for the Los Angeles Lakers and was part of the championship run in 2020. Avery Bradley is a perfect perimeter defender, and it has recently emerged that the Los Angeles Lakers could potentially be in play for the veteran guard if he gets bought out.
Avery Bradley would provide the Los Angeles Lakers with a solid 3 and D guard. That skillset is useful when playing next to a superstar like LeBron James, and Bradley would provide some solid perimeter play while still fitting into his role. It would do good for the Lakers to bring him back, and there's no reason that they can't if he's bought out.
3. Hassan Whiteside
Hassan Whiteside is a center that had a stellar season with Portland before moving to the Sacramento Kings. During the 2019-20 season, Hassan Whiteside averaged 15.5 PPG and 13.5 RPG, while also getting a league-leading 2.9 BPG. He could be useful as an athletic rim protector and would be great for matchups where the opponent has an elite big man.
Hassan Whiteside would address a big need for the Los Angeles Lakers: he can soak up some of the minutes at center right now, while also being able to fit a smaller role in the playoffs. The Los Angeles Lakers would welcome Whiteside's rim protection, meaning that he could be a target if he gets bought out.
2. Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond would be a premier big man that could go to the Los Angeles Lakers. Drummond is a former All-Star and has led the league in rebounding multiple times during his career. He is rumored to be bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
If Drummond does get bought out, then the Los Angeles Lakers would be an appealing destination for him. Drummond would immediately be the starting center on the team and could be featured in a prominent role next to Anthony Davis and LeBron James. His athleticism and defense will also be welcome on the Lakers: it's a perfect fit for both parties.
1. LaMarcus Aldridge
LaMarcus Aldridge could potentially be the perfect big man to get in the buyout market. Aldridge can play PF or C, provides shooting, and could also slot in next to Anthony Davis as a starter. LaMarcus Aldridge is a versatile big man, whose skills are perfect for being in a smaller offensive role. He could still provide scoring if needed, but he would definitely be a complementary piece.
LaMarcus Aldridge is a multiple-time All-Star who would definitely like to be on a contending roster this season after he reaches a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs. While Adrian Wojnarowski does mention that the Heat are frontrunners, Aldridge does plan to talk to other teams. Perhaps playing with a proven winner like LeBron James could tip the scale for Aldridge, enough for him to end up in Los Angeles.