The Los Angeles Lakers are among the most active teams (that we know of) on the trade market hours before the 2021 NBA Draft. The Lakers have significant roster upgrades they would like to make around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and with just the mid-level exception available to them in free agency and the 22nd overall pick on Thursday night, their only real options for a significant addition is through the trade market.
There’s significant buzz that Buddy Hield is a top target of the Lakers, who have reportedly put the No. 22 pick, Montrezl Harrell, and either Kyle Kuzma or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on the table in hopes of landing the sharpshooting two-guard from Sacramento. However, the Harrell portion of that trade could be an issue, as he would have to agree to pick up his player option and forego free agency to play a year with the Kings. There’s reason to believe he might be willing to do so, as the Kings can offer him a far more significant role than he had in L.A., and his market is likely not very high this offseason due to a down year in 2020-21, but it’s certainly not a guarantee.
Without Harrell involved, the Kings might not be interested and L.A. would need to look elsewhere to offload Kuzma as they have been reportedly trying to do all offseason. The San Antonio Spurs, according to Marc Stein, are among the teams with interest in Kuzma and have approached the Lakers about figuring out a sign-and-trade to send Compton-native DeMar DeRozan back home.
The Lakers' talks with Sacramento on a potential deal headlined by Buddy Hield and Kyle Kuzma are the most serious so far, league sources say, but San Antonio is also believed to have interest in Kuzma in possible sign-and-trade scenarios involving free agent-to-be DeMar DeRozan.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 29, 2021
Adding DeRozan, who is not a three-point shooter, to the LeBron and AD pairing isn’t necessarily ideal from a spacing perspective, but he would give them a big boost in the secondary creator department next to James. The bigger issue with this option is that being involved in a sign-and-trade would hard cap the Lakers (around $140 million) and that would significantly limit their options for filling out the rest of the roster. As such, working out a deal for Hield seems likely to be L.A.’s priority on Thursday night, but if Harrell isn’t on board and Sacramento won’t be amenable to a different package, then it’s possible that they would engage further with the Spurs to bring a third star to L.A.