In an attempt to maintain their depth and cap flexibility, the Los Angeles Lakers could ponder moving a couple of key rotations players in a trade during the 2023 NBA Draft.
The Los Angeles Lakers had a very productive season in 2022-2023. However, for the first half of it, the team struggled to hover near .500. It wasn’t until February when general manager Rob Pelinka swung a slew of notable trades that helped turn the team into the group that stunned the NBA world by reaching the Western Conference Finals after starting the season 2-10.
Related: LeBron James played with torn tendon in foot during 2023 NBA playoffs
However, the team has a lot of tough decisions to make in the coming weeks, and they include several of the players they acquired at the trade deadline. Beyond rising star Austin Reaves’ impending restricted free agency Jarred Vanderbilt, D’Angelo Russell, and Rui Hachimura all could soon hit the open market.
Los Angeles Lakers record (’22-’23): 43-39
All of the above were contributors to the team’s late-season turnaround and gave them much-needed depth, youth, and energy. But it could be difficult to keep all of them while still having some flexibility to also add players to improve the roster. One way they could do all of the above is to move some of the few players that are controllable for next season.
On Thursday, Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer made an interesting suggestion for a way to move some salary while keeping flexibility. Mo Bamba — a February addition — has a non-guaranteed contract for $10.3 million next season, and Malik Beasley — also a trade addition — has a team option for $16.5 million. Both were sought after by several teams at the deadline and could still be this summer.
Fischer claimed that the Hawks and Knicks both had talks with the Jazz about trades involving Beasley last season, plus the Trail Blazers and Cavaliers have shown interest previously or could also be good fits. All of the above might be possible trade partners during the NBA Draft the insider claims, before any official decisions on those contracts have to be made.
In moving Beasley and Bamba the Los Angeles Lakers could free up a good amount of cap space to sign some of their free agents and possibly get assets or other solid bench talent back in return.