NBA Draft Rumors: Lakers ‘Active In Trade Talks’ To Deal No. 4 Pick For ‘Established’ Veteran, Per ‘ESPN’

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates with Brandon Ingram #14 after making a three-pointer against Jrue Holiday #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at Staples Center on February 27, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Yong Teck Lim / Getty Images

While most teams would typically hang on to the fourth overall pick in any given NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers have long been expected to use this selection as part of a trade package during the 2019 offseason. Though they have a number of young and promising starters, the Lakers don’t have any tried-and-tested stars aside from four-time MVP LeBron James. And that appears to be just what Los Angeles is looking for ahead of the 2019 NBA Draft, as they reportedly look for the best possible return on that No. 4 selection.

According to a subscriber-only report from ESPN (via Sporting News), the Lakers are currently “active in trade talks” involving the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft, as the team is looking for an “established veteran who would be more ready” to help them improve on the 37-45 record they posted in the 2018-19 season. This comes shortly after Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka told reporters that the No. 4 selection is a “powerful asset” for the organization but also hinted that he wouldn’t mind it either if the pick doesn’t get traded.

“[N]ow it shifts, what we can get at four,” Pelinka was quoted as saying. “I will tell you there are some incredibly talented, impact players there that we’re going to study deeply. And then, of course, we’ll canvas [sic] the league and see what value that pick has. But either of those options is an extraordinary win for the franchise.”

The ESPN report, which cited league sources, did not name any specific target players for the Lakers. But Sporting News pointed out that Los Angeles is expected to try once again to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. The Lakers reportedly offered a number of trade packages to the Pelicans in hopes of landing the former All-NBA big man, but no deals were agreed upon before the February trade deadline.

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Per Forbes, Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal is another player whom the Lakers could trade for this summer. The outlet’s Evan Dammarell, however, explained that such a trade might require a third team to make things work out for all parties involved.

Regardless of how the Los Angeles Lakers end up using their fourth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the team could have a “busy” summer lined up as they try to surround LeBron James with more talent, per Sporting News. The publication noted that point guards Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets and Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics are among the rumored possibilities as free agent acquisitions for the Lakers once the offseason formally kicks off next month.