In a recently published list of trade ideas, Bleacher Report suggested that the Los Angeles Lakers could address their lack of outside shooting by trading for Detroit Pistons guard/forward Luke Kennard during the offseason.
As explained by the publication’s Greg Swartz, the Lakers struggled with their outside game for much of the 2019-20 campaign, ranking just 21st out of 30 teams in the regular season and 12th out of 16 in the playoffs. Kennard, on the other hand, has a career percentage of 40.2 percent from beyond the arc and is capable of starting at shooting guard or small forward, thus improving the team’s spacing if he plays alongside superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
According to his Basketball-Reference player page, Kennard averaged 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.1 rebounds for Detroit in 2019-20, with shooting clips of 44.2 percent from the field and 39.9 percent from three-point range. He was limited to just 28 games due to a knee injury he suffered midway into the season, though as the Detroit Free Press reported last month, he has been “healthy” since March and is hoping he could avoid any possible setbacks as he prepares for the 2020-21 campaign.
Although his ability to sink three-pointers could potentially help the Lakers patch up a long-running weakness, Kennard’s restricted free agent status in the summer of 2021 was also brought up by Bleacher Report. However, the publication’s Swartz noted that this means Los Angeles could match any offer from rival teams, thus making it likely the 24-year-old won’t just be a one-year “rental” for the organization.
Regarding Los Angeles’ best possible offer in a theoretical deal for Kennard, Swartz recommended that the organization could ship their No. 28 selection in the 2020 NBA Draft, as well as backups Quinn Cook and Talen Horton-Tucker, to the Pistons. The Bleacher Report writer speculated that the draft pick would allow Detroit a chance to select promising late-round prospects such as Jaden McDaniels or Tre Jones, while Horton-Tucker could also provide good value as a 19-year-old who put up good numbers in G League play as a rookie.
The 27-year-old Cook, meanwhile, was described as an experienced backcourt player who could serve as a mentor in the event the Pistons use one of their first-round selections on a point guard.
Aside from Kennard, a few other players have been linked to the Lakers in recent days as possible trade or free-agency acquisitions. These include four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan, who has been rumored multiple times to be unhappy with the San Antonio Spurs.