With nine days remaining before the NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers rumor mill appears to have suddenly become silent. It is perhaps the result of the recent comments made by Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.
In a recent interview with Spectrum SportsNet’s Mike Bresnahan, Pelinka said that the Lakers’ goal remains to be winning the NBA championship once again. And if the current trade market will not present an opportunity for them to get closer to their goal, then the team would most likely “stay the course” and continue to play the season with their present lineup in hand.
Pelinka also said that keeping their salary cap flexibility is a priority for the Lakers with their well-known agenda of signing two max contract free agents this summer. He then said that the team is also open to the option of signing their own free agents, which meant that Julius Randle may well stay with the Lakers moving forward.
Randle has been in trade rumors for quite some time now because of his contract status. He is set to become a restricted free agent in July, but the Lakers have the power to match any offer sheet that the 23-year-old big man may accept.
Just recently, Bleacher Report indicated that Jordan Clarkson was “offered” to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Avery Bradley. However, with the Clippers getting Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and two future draft picks in a reported trade for Blake Griffin, the said rumors immediately died a natural death.
Pelinka’s words might have helped cool down some Lakers trade rumors, but Lakers Nation’s Corey Hansford still believes that the team should pursue a trade, particularly with the Cleveland Cavaliers, if the Cavs make Kevin Love available before the deadline.
Hansford suggested a trade scenario that would send Love to the Lakers for Randle, Clarkson, veteran wingman Corey Brewer, and a 2020 first-round draft pick (No. 1-10 protected). He also proposed a second option that would include Brook Lopez instead of Brewer, with Channing Frye and Jose Calderon’s expiring contracts added to the Cavs’ package, but insisted that the first proposal would be his preference.
Hansford said that while waiting for the summer makes the most sense for the Lakers (as what Pelinka implied during his interview), persuading two superstar free agents to join them would be a “huge risk” for the club. The reporter noted that having “other stars” is the best way a team can lure star players to sign up, and Love would help the Lakers champion their cause in that regard.
Despite the chaos that is in Cleveland at the moment, Love remains to be one of the Cavaliers’ most consistent players. The five-time All-Star is averaging 18.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 28.5 minutes per game even though he had been playing out of position for a number of games.
Love is said to be a “great fit” in head coach Luke Walton’s system and is a definite upgrade over Lopez in the Lakers’ frontcourt. Love would not only become the team’s best three-point threat as he sinks 39.8 percent of his shots from downtown this season, but he may also turn into the Lakers’ number one scoring option in the post, Hansford said.
Getting Love would mean that the Lakers can only sign one max player in the coming offseason. It also means that a potential positional issue may happen with Kyle Kuzma playing the same power forward spot as Love’s.
However, Hansford said that the “positives outweigh the negatives” with Love around and that the Lakers should seize the opportunity to acquire him if it is given.