Expect the Lakers to be involved in trade discussions as we approach the NBA deadline as a team on the down-swing will surely try to engage a team on the upswing like Los Angeles.
For instance, if the Chicago Bulls aren’t able to pry away the Boston Celtics’ 2017 Nets pick – which will almost certainly be a top three pick – expect Chicago GM Gar Forman to entice Lakers boss Mitch Kupchak with the prospect of his team making an accelerated run at the playoffs.
Swingman Jimmy Butler will be one of the hottest names on the trading block in the coming weeks, and he just so happens to fill a need for the Lakers. The Sporting News reported on Wednesday that the Lakers would not give up any of their young core in Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle; and they’re “unlikely” to consider moving Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance. The Lakers also don’t have much wiggle room when it comes to immediate draft picks as the 76ers will get their 2017 pick unless it is in the top three of the lottery.
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So, LA would have no shot at landing a player of Butler’s ability, right?
Well, maybe not.
The Cavaliers have already made their move for a shooter. A team like the Raptors, who are the proverbial “one player away,” have a superstar who plays the same position as Butler. The Warriors don’t have wiggle room. The Spurs don’t have much wiggle room either. Same for the Rockets and Clippers.
The Celtics like Butler, but don’t seem to be in love with him. The C’s and Bulls were engaged in deep discussions regarding a Butler trade last June but it fell apart. It’s still unclear on which side caved, but here’s guessing that this time around Danny Ainge will be looking for a heist if he is to relinquish this year’s Nets pick. In other words, the Bulls would have be the ones to impress Ainge with a deal this time – not the other way around.
So, if Butler’s value goes down and the Bulls are desperate to push the reset button before the trade deadline – the Lakers might be one of the most attractive trade partners as they have some of the most attractive spare parts (Clarkson, Nance). LA would also have future first round picks to dangle.