As of this writing, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers are in the middle of another strong season, with their 20-6 record putting them just half of a game behind the Western Conference-leading Utah Jazz. Despite how the team doesn’t seem to have any “major needs,” Bleacher Report listed three players who the organization could target ahead of the March 25 trade deadline, including Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson, Sacramento Kings center Hassan Whiteside, and Detroit Pistons guard Wayne Ellington.
As explained by the publication’s Greg Swartz, the Lakers’ shopping list in the lead-up to the deadline should be centered on “rotation veterans” who could provide depth off the bench. He noted that Anderson has posted solid averages (13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, per Basketball-Reference) for the Grizzlies, where he is starting in place of the injured Jaren Jackson Jr. at power forward. The 27-year-old was also described as a skilled ball-handler who could come off the bench for LeBron James, thereby keeping him fresh enough for the playoffs.
Regarding Whiteside, Swartz suggested that the veteran center could play a similar role to the one that Dwight Howard played in 2019-20 before he joined the Philadelphia 76ers as a free agent last offseason. After several seasons as one of the NBA’s top rebounders and shot-blockers, Whiteside has since been demoted to reserve duties in Sacramento. If acquired by the Lakers, he might not get much more playing time, though this isn’t the first time in recent weeks that he has been mentioned as an ideal fit for Howard’s previous role.
As cited last month by The Inquisitr, Lake Show Life wrote that if the Lakers land him, there’s a possibility Whiteside might not be used much against smaller teams. His past character issues were also brought up as a potential concern. However, the veteran big man could be an “amazing asset” against larger lineups, with James ideally “keeping [him] in check” when it comes to his perceived attitude concerns.
Lastly, Ellington has enjoyed a productive stint for the Pistons this year, where he is starting at shooting guard and averaging 11.4 points, with shooting clips of 49 percent from the field and 47.3 percent from three-point range, according to Basketball-Reference. Per Swartz, this has made the 33-year-old journeyman a desirable target for many a contending team, particularly because he is on a very affordable contract that will pay him $2.6 million in 2020-21.
While the Bleacher Report writer did not name any players who could be offered in exchange for either one of those three, forward Kyle Kuzma has been recommended multiple times as potential trade bait for pre-deadline deals.