IT’S TRADE SEASON IN THE NBA! With former All-NBA player Blake Griffin signing with Brooklyn Nets via buyout agreement with the Detroit Pistons, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at who the Lakers need to target heading into the trade deadline. The Nets are loading up for a title run, while the Lakers are sitting back with an injured Anthony Davis waiting to return. So, who should the Lakers target via trade or buyout?
This is the biggest name on the market, but this would have to be via buyout from the Cavaliers. Drummond would have to join the Lakers instead of the Nets, the other rumored frontrunner for him. The Lakers are in desperate need of added rim protection, size, rebounding, scoring, and versatility that Drummond can provide on the interior. All the players on this list are big men because that is the Lakers’ largest weakness and area of concern, especially while Davis is injured.
Whiteside is another rumored name to Lakers, especially considering the lack of depth inside alongside Anthony Davis. Whiteside would be much able to be acquired via trade OR buyout since he’s much cheaper than Drummond. Whiteside would be able to contribute sooner (via trade) for Los Angeles than Drummond (via buyout), and his strengths of rim protection, rebounding, finishing, size, and defense would be additionally helpful to Anthony Davis in the frontcourt defensively, relieving Davis of defensive responsibilities. Offensively, Whiteside isn’t as strong as Drummond, but he’s a low-risk, high-reward player for a team in need of his services.
Cousins was released by Houston a week ago, and there is virtually no market for him still. The Lakers would only entertain signing Cousins if they can’t bring Drummond 0r Whiteside, which is a real possibility if Drummond signs elsewhere and Sacramento doesn’t trade Whiteside. Cousins’s advantage is his ability to space the floor and his passing alongside a player like Anthony Davis and LeBron James, but defensively he’s not nearly as strong as he may have once been. He’s still a capable rebounder and defensive player as a rim protector, though.
The Lakers have an opportunity to make their mark and “reclaim” their frontrunner status as the NBA title contender. These are just a few names and moves they could make to put them over the top and ultimately get them that back-to-back title reign that LeBron, AD, and Lakers nation has been waiting years for.
Photo: Jason Miller