Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors abound with less than a month to go before the NBA trade season goes into full swing. Prominent Laker names, such as Julius Randle, Brook Lopez, and Jordan Clarkson have been mentioned in recent trade speculations.
The Lakers are currently three spots below the eighth seed in the West with an 8-13 record. They have lost three straight and have won only three of their last 11 matches. Analysts are expecting another major retool happening in midseason.
Here are the latest Lakers trade rumors around the league.
Julius Randle Still On The Block
Randle is the most-mentioned player in the Lakers rumor mill right now. With the team’s surplus of young frontcourt and wing players, the former Kentucky standout has become a top trade asset of Magic Johnson and company.
The Lakers had high hopes for Randle when they drafted him seventh overall in 2014. He was supposed to be the player that would bridge the Kobe Bryant-era and the future. Unfortunately, he got injured on the opening night of his rookie season and ended up playing just one game that year.
Randle bounced back in his second and third seasons, starting 60 of his 81 regular season games with then head coach Byron Scott in 2015-2016 before becoming Luke Walton’s full-time starter last season. He averaged more than 10 points per game in each of those seasons and has played over 28 minutes a night as well.
However, things changed after the emergence of last year’s No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram, the marked improvement of Larry Nance Jr., and the arrival of 2017 No. 27 overall pick Kyle Kuzma. Suddenly, Randle found himself battling it out for playing time as he was downgraded to a bench role this season.
Aside from that, Randle’s expiring rookie contract is a source of a dilemma for the Lakers. It is anticipated that Randle will ask for a big payday once he is eligible to earn it. Magic is rumored to be targeting two big-name free agents next summer. It could be a reason why the Lakers would be unwilling to give Randle the kind of money he wants anytime soon.
There are so many trade rumors mentioning Randle and the latest one suggested that he could be moved to a team that is willing to exchange a 2018 first-round draft pick for the power forward.
Another trade speculation by Fansided’s Lake Show Life said that Randle could be used as a “bundle” to a Luol Deng trade. It is similar to what happened when the Lakers included D’Angelo Russell in the package that sent Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets last June.
Whatever happens, it is getting clearer that Randle might be playing his last season for the Lakers.
Brook Lopez Centerpiece Of Trade For Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol?
Lopez is another big man rumored to be on the Lakers’ trading block. The team acquired Lopez in the Mozgov-Russell deal and has been playing quite well for Walton as the starting center this season.
The nine-year veteran is averaging 13.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.7 blocks in only 23.2 minutes per game for the Lakers, but his much-improved three-point shooting has been a big help to open the floor for the squad.
Despite his valuable contributions, Lopez has also been mentioned in different trade rumors. The most recent one is by Fansided’s LA Sports Hub. The blog said that he could be the centerpiece of a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies that would send Marc Gasol to the Lakers.
Tensions are high between Gasol and the Grizzlies at the moment, and the three-time NBA All-Star is expected to request a trade anytime soon.
The report suggested that the Lakers could offer Lopez, Randle, and rookie Thomas Bryant to Memphis in exchange for Gasol. Per ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine, the trade is successful.
Nets, Hornets, Blazers Target Jordan Clarkson?
If Randle is the most-mentioned Laker in trade rumors, then Clarkson is considered as the team’s most valuable trade asset at this time.
The Filipino-American guard is having a career year, averaging 15.4 points, 2.9 boards, and 3.0 assists in 22.6 minutes a night coming off the bench. There were reports saying that he could be a candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award at the end of the season.
Clarkson’s trade value is sky high right now and the Lakers are rumored to be planning to take advantage of it.
Blasting News reported that several teams are interested in getting Clarkson, including the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, and Portland Trail Blazers. The report noted that “no deal is imminent at the moment,” but discussions are inclined to intensify in the few weeks before the February deadline.
More Lakers Rumors
Veteran forward Luol Deng is also one Laker who has been in the rumor mill for quite some time now. Deng is only in the second year of his four-year, $72 million deal with the Lakers and the team seems to be already feeling the weight of his contract.
Besides the huge contract, Deng is also currently out of Walton’s rotation, triggering rumors that he could be traded soon to unload much-needed salary cap space for the coming free-agency next summer.
Some analysts said that if a trade is not possible, then a buyout is bound to happen. Fansided’s Hoops Habit suggested that the Houston Rockets should look into the Briton’s availability once he is bought out.