Despite improving to a 17-10 record — and a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference — the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t done retooling their lineup around LeBron James. Numerous reports have suggested that the team is hoping to acquire the Phoenix Suns’ Trevor Ariza, who had played for the Lakers in 2008 and 2009. With a recent attempt to trade for the veteran forward falling through, however, the team apparently has a few alternative targets in mind, according to a report from the Sporting News.
Citing a source familiar with the situation, the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney wrote Thursday that the Lakers are alternately considering Miami Heat shooting guard Wayne Ellington, who is currently on a one-year contract with the team that stipulates he could veto trade offers. According to Deveney, the Heat’s current struggles have resulted in Ellington’s name popping up in trade conversations, with Miami considering trading him to a playoff team for a future first-round pick. The 31-year-old Ellington, who had played for the Lakers in the 2013-14 season, is averaging 9.7 points and shooting 37 percent from the field for the Heat.
Like Ellington, Orlando Magic forward Terrence Ross could be another option for the Los Angeles Lakers if they aren’t able to trade for Trevor Ariza, the Sporting News added. While Ross is averaging a career-best 14.1 points per game — and could also address the Lakers’ need for three-point shooting off the bench — the report speculated that the 27-year-old wingman and former lottery pick “might be out of the Lakers’ [price] range.”
In addition to Ellington and Ross, the Lakers have reportedly been considering trading for another big man, though the Sporting News cast doubt on that possibility. The publication mentioned Magic starting center Nikola Vucevic, who had once been rumored to be on the Lakers’ radar, but added that the Magic are now likely to keep him in Orlando so that he could mentor 2018 lottery pick Mo Bamba as he adjusts to life in the NBA.
Regardless of whom the Lakers will be trading for as they attempt to bolster their bench, all of the team’s targets are due to become free agents in the summer of 2019, which, per the Sporting News, suggests that team president Magic Johnson — and general manager Rob Pelinka — are still sticking to their original plans. Likewise, the Lakers are reportedly planning to hang on to youngsters Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart. They plan to “keep them out of trade talks,” while making sure they have enough salary cap space in the 2019 offseason so they can sign a top-tier free agent to play alongside LeBron James.