Report: Lakers Leaning Toward Keeping No. 7 Draft Pick Rather Than Trading Down

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2014

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak talks during a news conference in El Segundo, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, about the death of team owner Jerry Buss. Buss died in Los Angeles on Monday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Good news for anyone hoping the Los Angeles Lakers import some young talent via the No. 7 overall selection in this summer's draft.

According to's Dave McMenamin, it doesn't look like that pick is going anywhere.

"Whether the Lakers end up picking Smart, Randle, or somebody else, the team is leaning towards keeping their No. 7 pick rather than trading down in order to acquire multiple picks, according to a source with knowledge of their thinking," he reported on Wednesday.

McMenamin explains the organization's logic:

While it’s widely believed that there is a gap in the talent available after Kansas’ Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins and Duke’s Jabari Parker go off the board, the Lakers feel there is another gap between the player they have rated 10th versus who they have at 11th and below, so it’s not like they could flip their pick for say Phoenix’s No. 14 and No. 18 picks and still come out in with a player they are totally sold on.

Besides, as Bleacher Report's Dan Favale points out, some pretty good talent has gone seventh in the draft:

Selecting seventh gives [the Lakers] more than enough opportunity to land someone special. History is littered with success stories from those picked seventh. Ask Stephen Curry. Or Luol Deng. Greg Monroe will tell you too, as will many others. 

The organization can't trade its pick outright for a veteran because it's already dealt its 2013 and 2015 first-round picks. Per league rules, teams aren't allowed to trade away consecutive first-round selections.

That means any deal Los Angeles makes with its No. 7 pick would have to happen following to the selection itself.

Still, the team has some options—including some exceptional talent that could fall to No. 7. USA Today's Adi Joseph outlines Los Angeles' potential hauls:

It's unlikely the top three picks will be available, barring a crazy bid, so the Lakers might try to move up to No.4 overall to snag Dante Exum, the Australian point guard whom they have scouted extensively, according to numerous reports. If they remain at the No.7 spot in the draft order, the most talented player available likely would be one of Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart, Indiana power forward Noah Vonleh or and Kentucky power forward Julius Randle.

With the point guard and power forward spots being positions of need for L.A., this could be an especially valuable draft. There's a wealth of talent at both positions, and the Lakers should emerge with one of their preferred targets one way or another.

There's little doubt the Lakers are looking for someone who can contribute right away. With Kobe Bryant's days numbered, the club is in no mood for patience.

The good news is that this draft is deep enough to find NBA-ready talent at No. 7.

Should that talent develop into serious star power down the road, all the better.

Los Angeles finished last season with a record of 27-55. In addition to exploring draft options, general manager Mitch Kupchak also remains on the hunt for a new head coach after the team parted ways with Mike D'Antoni.