For those NBA fans too distracted with the draft and other festivities in the sporting world, the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers mean business about turning things around after becoming the little brother in L.A. last season.
Fresh off one of the worst campaigns in franchise history at 27-55, the front office clutches the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 draft, a vacancy at head coach and a wealth of trade options that won't quiet until the regular season and beyond.
With few names on the roster as the rebuild enters the infancy stage, the Lakers have been linked to some of the NBA's brightest young stars. Here's the latest.
Los Angeles Wants to Gain from the Kevin Love Ordeal
One way or another, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak seems adamant about being in on the Kevin Love saga that is slowly, painfully playing out in Minnesota.
The Timberwolves have brought the league to a standstill for now, as their decision to ship off or retain Love, one of the NBA's unheralded superstars with just one year left on his deal, is not even close to being decided.
Right? According to Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times, the Golden State Warriors may have a potential package that finally gets the deal done—and nets the Lakers shooter Klay Thompson in the process:
The Lakers have been in discussions to acquire Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson for the seventh pick in next week’s draft, The Times has learned.
The deal would be part of a larger three-way trade that sends Minnesota All-Star power forward Kevin Love to the Warriors. The Lakers are interested but the deal has been put on hold because of a difference in opinion within the Warriors’ organization whether or not to keep Thompson while trying to obtain Love.
It's a huge get for the Lakers if it comes to fruition, as Thompson averaged 18.4 points per game last season and was one of the league's better shooters from deep, averaging close to three connections per game.
The Washington State product is coming off a career year and would play in tandem with Kobe Bryant next season. Thompson's arrival in Los Angeles seems much more realistic than Love coming to town based on the assets the Lakers have to offer via trade at this point.
ESPN.com's Kevin Arnovitz provided some perspective as to why the Warriors may be willing to dish Thompson:
Keeping Klay Thompson long term means overpaying him wildly. That's reason enough for Golden State to deal him.— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) June 21, 2014
For the Lakers, finances take a backseat at this point in the rebuild. There are some bad contracts, sure, but the team will not have an issue keeping Thompson around, and he would shore up a position of need quite nicely for the future.
Michael Carter-Williams May Be a Serious Target
Then again, the Lakers may want to nab a rising star who has plenty of upside and years on his contract. After all, the team has dealt every first-round pick it has had since 2007, so No. 7 overall appears to be burning a hole in Kupchak's pocket at the moment.
Hence the notion that Michael Carter-Williams will make his way to Los Angeles.
This nugget comes from Ryen Russillo, who neatly wraps in the drama surrounding purported (and injured) No. 1 overall pick Joel Embiid:
More Embiid fallout. Lakers could move Nash and #7 to Philly for MCW and T Young. 76ers would take Exum at #3.— Russillo (@ryenarussillo) June 20, 2014
With Embiid's draft stock up in the air, the Lakers have the perfect opportunity to get rid of the No. 7 pick if the price is right. While the addition of the reigning Rookie of the Year makes sense, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders muses that the rumors may be a smokescreen:
Also rumors of any sort of MCW deal to Lakers - I've heard aren't accurate - but then lots of lies this time of year— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 21, 2014
The notion that the 76ers would move MCW is not ridiculous, as ESPN.com's Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton have noted (subscription required) in the past that the organization has "bounced around" the idea of moving the Syracuse product.
Who is the better fit should the Lakers choose to deal the No. 7 pick?
MCW is an obviously great addition to the rebuilding Lakers after averaging 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists as a rookie, and as an added caveat in this scenario, Los Angeles would unload Steve Nash's $9.7 million cap hit, per Spotrac.
There are questions about MCW's viability considering the 76ers are so open to moving him and he played in a freestyle offense on a horrific squad, but his high ceiling is something the Lakers would have a hard time passing on as a means to rebuild.
Regardless, the Lakers won't be out of the headlines any time soon.