Connect with us

Basketball

Lakers trade rumors: Ranking LA’s best guard targets, from Zach LaVine and Dejounte Murray to Bruce Brown Jr.

The Lakers have been among the teams most rumored to make a move during the trade deadline, and for good reason. Hovering around .500, they need a serious talent upgrade and a strong finish to the regular season to avoid the Play-In Tournament. 

There have been a number of guards linked to Los Angeles as it looks for a potential upgrade over D’Angelo Russell. Russell has played well this season, averaging 17.1 points and hitting 42.9 percent of his 3s, but his struggles in last year’s playoffs have to remain a concern. 

The Lakers have a 2029 first-round pick, some young prospects and pick swaps to offer in a trade. Here are the options that they have been linked to recently, ranked by which ones make the most sense. 

MORE: Full list of starters for the 2024 NBA All-Star Game

Ranking the best Lakers guard trade targets 

5. Zach LaVine, Bulls

Salary: $40,064,220

The LaVine-to-Lakers scuttlebutt seems to be on life support, but the fit there would be good. 

The two-time All-Star is one of the better scorers in the league. He’s deadly from 3, hitting 38.2 percent of his career looks from the perimeter, and he’s a great driver and finisher at the rim. He is, however, in the midst of a down year and has struggled with various injuries, including an ankle sprain that has him currently out of the lineup. 

The Lakers have the defensive infrastructure that could mask some of LaVine’s issues on that end of the floor. While he is good enough on the ball to avoid getting targeted in games, he is prone to mistakes away from the action.

According to Marc Stein and others, LaVine’s huge contract remains an impediment to the Lakers making a move for him. He’s in the second season of a five-year, $215.2 million max deal. And with the Pistons’ interest in him, the Bulls aren’t going to give him away for nothing. 

4. Kyle Lowry, Hornets

Salary: $29,682,540

Lowry doesn’t make much sense for the Lakers as a trade target due to his hefty salary, but the veteran guard could get bought out by the Hornets, making him a viable target if and when that happens. 

Lowry is in the midst of a down season. He doesn’t look to score much anymore and he is clearly in the last stages of his career at age 37. Despite those issues, he could still be a nice backup guard. He’s an extremely high-feel player who is great at organizing his teams, and he’s shot the ball well, hitting 38.5 percent of his 3s this season.

Lowry is also tough as nails defensively, ranking seventh in the league in charges drawn.

MORE: Buyout and trade options for Kyle Lowry after Hornets-Heat swap

3. Malcolm Brogdon, Trail Blazers

Salary: $22,500,000

Brogdon, last season’s Sixth Man of the Year, has drawn interest from the Lakers, per the Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike. How much of an upgrade he’d be over Russell is up for debate, particularly after Russell outplayed him in their matchup on Jan. 21. 

Brogdon has looked better in the playoffs than Russell, though. He’s a smart facilitator, a good defender and a reliable 3-point shooter. 

Health is always the big caveat with Brogdon. Injuries limited his effectiveness down the stretch for the Celtics last season and he’s missed a ton of games over his career. 

2. Bruce Brown Jr., Raptors

Salary: $22,000,000

There has been a lot of smoke about the Lakers’ interest in Brown from reputable sources such as Substack’s Marc Stein, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha and Shams Charania. He makes a lot of sense as a playoff-tested utility player who could plug a lot of holes for the Lakers. 

Brown’s NBA calling card has been his gritty defense. He can guard multiple positions and plays much bigger than his 6-4 height, even experimenting as a small-ball center a few seasons ago for the Nets. 

His shooting has been up and down throughout his career, but Brown hit the big ones in the Finals, converting on 36.8 percent of his 3s during that series. He would also give the Lakers some more playmaking. He’s not elite in any one area, but he’s the type of supporting piece that will find multiple ways to contribute around stars with opportunistic cutting, rebounding, passing and defense.

MORE: Why Raptors say yes and no to this Bruce Brown Jr.-to-Lakers trade

1. Dejounte Murray, Hawks

Salary: $18,214,000

The Lakers already tried to trade for Murray earlier in the season, per Buha. Those talks fell through because of the Hawks’ reticence to acquire Russell back in a deal. The most likely outcome for this deal to go down is for a third team to step in and take him. 

If the Hawks can find that third team, then this trade makes sense for a few reasons. 

Murray is a much-improved 3-point shooter from his earlier days with the Spurs. He’s hit 38.8 percent of his attempts this season on good volume. He could also help the Lakers with his ability to get downhill with the ball, which is desperately needed. The team is last in the league in drives per game. 

The biggest reason to acquire Murray is his two-way play. He’s not as good as he was during his All-Defensive Second Team season in 2018, but he’s a huge upgrade over Russell, who has been targeted frequently during big moments. 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must See

More in Basketball