Should The Lakers Really Trade The No. 1 Draft Pick If They’re Lucky Enough To Get It?

Colin Cowherd isn’t always known for getting inside info, but on Tuesday, Fox Sports’ most prominent hot-take purveyor dropped an interesting piece of information regarding the Los Angeles Lakers. According to Cowherd, two separate sources have told him the Lakers’ plan on trading their pick in the upcoming draft – even if they get the No. 1 selection.

Cowherd then dove into a weird, Cowherd-esque rant about how you can’t tank in Los Angeles, but we’ll ignore that and just look at his report. The Lakers finished this season with the second-worst record in the NBA, and as such, they have the second-best odds of any team in the league to win the lottery. Los Angeles has a 19.9 percent chance to get the first pick in the draft – which is likely to be used on LSU’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram – and a 55.8 percent chance of ending up in the top three.

That second thing is especially important if the Lakers want to have a pick to trade. Should Los Angeles fall out of the top three, its pick goes to the Sixers, which would be catastrophic for a team that supposedly views its first-rounder as the thing that will land an established superstar.

There are merits to keeping and trading the pick, of course. You can argue that Ingram and Simmons have higher ceilings than anyone the team could realistically acquire, and that if the team wants someone really good, it may have to split with some young assets like D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle. Conversely, talent attracts other talent, so maybe if the Lakers can get someone a star in exchange for a top draft pick, they can use that player to convince a big-name free agent or two to join them in July.

This upcoming lottery was always going to be huge for the Lakers due to the chance that their pick heads to Philly. If Cowherd’s report is true, the lottery will take on an even bigger significance in Los Angeles.