The LA Lakers have a lot of holes that need to be filled before the beginning of next season, and the 2016 NBA Draft is going to be a great place to start. The lottery picks were recently revealed, and Los Angeles ended up with the second overall pick, which guarantees them one of the top players in the draft,which means Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. People are starting to wonder, though, if the Lakers are going to keep the draft pick or trade it away.
Rumors have been swirling that the Lakers are looking to trade away the second overall pick for some veteran players. After that, they’re rumored to want to trade back into the first round and go after Jamal Murray, the sharpshooter out of Kentucky.
As complicated as that may sound, it appears as if the Lakers may do something much simpler.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak spoke with AM 570 LA Sports and talked about having the number two pick in the draft, and what they plan to do with it. At this time, it doesn’t look as if the Lakers are sending it anywhere.
“Getting the pick, to me, is a bonus and it’s a wonderful asset to have. At number two, you should get a good player.
“If we use the pick this year, which is our intention at this time, that we’ll get another great player.”
That being said, the Lakers really have two main options at the number two pick – LSU’s Benjamin Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram. Whichever player isn’t selected number one overall by the Philadelphia 76ers will be drafted by the Lakers at number two.
Now, there is still a good bit of time until the NBA Draft, and that means some wheeling and dealing may still take place. Kupchak still has a bit of work to do before the draft, and he’s going to be busy speaking to a number of executives around the league.
“But between now and the draft I expect to talk to most GM’s in the league, whether I reach out to them just to touch base or whether they reach out to me and inquire about players that are on our roster now or even the pick, there will be a lot of conversations.”
Unless there is a mega-blockbuster deal awaiting the Lakers, then it’s highly unlikely that they will trade away the number two pick. There’s a youth movement happening in Los Angeles, and having a high draft pick allows them to continue doing just that.
If they don’t end up trading away the pick, there is still going to be NBA free agency, and the Lakers have a lot of money, meaning they’ll be big-time players this summer.
First off, the Lakers are going to chase Kevin Durant and see if his earlier inclination to go to Los Angeles is still there. If not, rumor has it that both Joakim Noah and DeMar DeRozan are high on the list of free agents the Lakers would like to sign above others.
Rant Sports believes that Noah and DeRozan are two of the top five players that the Lakers should try to sign this summer. The others are Nicolas Batum (Hornets), Chandler Parsons (Mavericks), and Hassan Whiteside (Heat).
NBA free agency and the draft are going to say a lot about how the Lakers look next season, and Mitch Kupchak knows that impressive moves need to be made. Free agency is something they will have to do a lot more work in, but the draft should be easy for them to control. If it’s not one player, it will be the next one, and Kupchak knows how talented they are.
“Just off the top of my head, I don’t think there’s a lot of players we would trade for with that pick. Certainly there’s a handful, maybe two handfuls, but I don’t think there’s a lot.”
The LA Lakers do need to get a lot accomplished before the new season so that a repeat of last year’s awful record doesn’t repeat itself. Having the second overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft will allow them to do virtually anything they want as far as making a pick or trading it away for some veteran players. As of the now, the Lakers are holding onto it, and that means Benjamin Simmons or Brandon Ingram will likely end up in Los Angeles.
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