The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the teams expected to be aggressive on the trade market in the 2020 offseason. Though they currently hold the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference, the Lakers are still determined to address some of the issues on their roster, including their need of another shot creator and playmaker. In recent months, the Lakers have already been linked to several players who are expected to be available on the trading block this fall — including veteran shooting guard Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers.
In a recent article, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report included a list of trade ideas to create the league’s new “Big Three.” For the Lakers, Buckley suggested targeting Oladipo from the Pacers. In the proposed scenario, the Lakers would be sending a trade package that includes Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker, and a 2020 first-round pick to the Pacers in exchange for Oladipo. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
The suggested trade would be a no-brainer for the Pacers if they have no plans to give Oladipo a huge payday in 2021’s free agency. Instead of taking the risk of losing him without getting anything in return, the potential deal would allow the Pacers to remain a competitive team in the Eastern Conference while acquiring two young and promising talents who could be part of their long-term future.
“Between Oladipo’s injuries and contract uncertainty, Indiana could encounter a more tepid market than his pedigree would suggest,” Buckley wrote. “This might scratch enough itches for the Pacers to accept. Kuzma is the crown jewel as a 24-year-old who has already displayed a powerful scoring punch. His game could be a snug fit alongside either Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis, allowing Indy to trade the other to balance the roster. Green’s three-and-D game fits with anyone, so the Pacers can keep him to compete next season or see what the market would offer for him and his expiring $15.4 million contract ahead of 2021 free agency.”
Meanwhile, the successful acquisition of Oladipo would immediately address the Lakers’ need for another shot creator and playmaker who could step up when LeBron James needs to rest or if he should suffer an injury. When he’s healthy, pairing an elite athlete like Oladipo with James and Anthony Davis would further improve the Lakers’ chances of fully dominating the Western Conference and winning a championship title next season.
However, bringing Oladipo to Los Angeles comes with a huge risk. Aside from his impending free agency, Oladipo still looks rusty after spending the past two seasons recovering from injuries. Before trading for Oladipo, the Lakers should first make sure that he’s 100 percent healthy and regained his All-Star form. If the old Oladipo doesn’t show up in the remaining games of the 2019-20 season, it would be best for the Lakers to target other players this fall.