As the Los Angeles Lakers have mostly relied on natural forward LeBron James for playmaking this season, a recent report suggested the team could surround the four-time MVP with a secondary facilitator by trading for yet another forward with passing skills — Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics.
According to Bleacher Report, veteran point guard Rajon Rondo has served as a quality backup playmaker for the Lakers in the playoffs. However, the outlet stressed this still doesn’t change how the organization needs someone to consistently support James and facilitate the offense while he’s on the bench. This, as pointed out, highlights the need to at least make an offer for Hayward even if it would require trading away Kyle Kuzma. The 25-year-old has been considered as the Lakers’ top trade asset since the team sacrificed most of their young core players in the deal for Anthony Davis during the summer of 2019.
Aside from Kuzma, the publication recommended the Lakers include two other key contributors — wingmen Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green — and their 2023 second-round pick should they attempt to acquire Hayward in the 2020 offseason.
During the 2019-20 regular season, Hayward put up big numbers for Boston, registering averages of 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field. In the event the hypothetical trade pushes forward, the one-time All-Star would likely start at small forward while taking over as a “primary ball-handler” whenever James, the likely starting point guard, needs to rest on the bench.
Talking about how the Celtics could benefit from the suggested transaction, Bleacher Report wrote Kuzma could “fill a need” as the team’s starting power forward. Per Basketball Reference, the former first-round pick’s statistics took a hit as he switched to a reserve role in 2019-20, averaging just 12.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists for the Lakers. However, he played very well in his nine starts, putting up 20.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game and sinking 36 percent of his three-point attempts.
As further explained, Green and Caldwell-Pope could be “terrific backups” for young Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, though this would be contingent on Caldwell-Pope opting into the final year of his contract.
Hayward is just one of many stars who have been recommended as potential acquisitions if the Lakers decide to upgrade their roster in the offseason. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope, and Green were among the players recommended as trade bait in a theoretical deal for Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul.