The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off their worst season since moving to California from Minnesota over a half century ago.
Kobe Bryant has retired. Byron Scott was fired, only to be replaced by current Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton, all of just 36 years of age.
Needless to say, the Lakers are in the process of re-branding themselves to both the Southern California audience and the rest of the NBA.
So it would stand to reason that the team might be interested in acquiring an All-Star caliber player to add to a young core.
Fresh off “earning” the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, this appears to be the case.
According to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, the Lakers are going to actively pursue a trade of that second pick in the lead up to the draft this summer.
“The Lakers will actively explore trading the pick. They want to get better as soon as possible—in part to make sure Philadelphia doesn’t get too good of a pick next year when the Lakers’ first-rounder conveys to the 76ers if it’s outside the top three,” the scribe reported. “Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is also seeking a better blend of youth and experience on the roster.”
With LSU’s Ben Simmons expected to go first overall to the Philadelphia 76ers, the second pick becomes all that much more valuable. Widely considered the second-best prospect in the draft, Duke’s Brandon Ingram could draw a nice return for the Lakers.
This all comes on the heels of reports suggesting that the Lakers find absolutely no one on their roster untouchable in potential trades this summer. That includes last year’s No. 2 overall pick, D’Angelo Russell.
With the increased cap expected to land a ton of players huge contracts in free agency, the trade block is something to definitely keep an eye on.
With both Roy Hibbert and Bryant coming off their books, the Lakers are expected to be north of $50 million under the cap.
This would enable the team to take on a large contract in any potential deal without having to give up equal contracts in return.
In this, someone like Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler becomes a real possibility should he be put on the block.
It also opens up several sign-and-trade scenarios for a fledgling Lakers team with an inexperienced head coach.
As it is, we can expect wholesale changes to the team’s roster over the coming months. Whether that means trading the second pick for a proven veteran remains to be seen.