The 2014 NBA draft is scheduled for Thursday night, but the excitement surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers and the potential trades the franchise could make has fans of the team anticipating big changes.
With Los Angeles possibly trading Steve Nash to clear room for free agents like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, the likelihood of something monumental coming to fruition on draft day is through the roof.
Here are the latest rumors surrounding the Lakers organization as the 2014 NBA draft approaches.
Los Angeles Moving Steve Nash to Sign LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony?
The Los Angeles Lakers struggled mightily last season—the team finished with a 27-55 regular-season record—and the franchise is looking to complete an overhaul this offseason, which could include trading veteran point guard Steve Nash.
According to a report from Ramona Shelburne, Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Lakers are looking to make a big splash via free agency:
The Lakers have been trying in recent days to package the No. 7 overall pick in Thursday's draft with the expiring contract of Steve Nash (who's owed $9.7 million next season) to free up enough room to offer James and Anthony at least $16 million each next season to join forces with Kobe Bryant, Shelburne reported.
Teaming long-time cornerstone Kobe Bryant with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony would be a nightmare for the rest of the teams in the Western Conference. While it’s a long shot, the organization must throw its hat in the free agency mix.
If that means trading Steve Nash, than that is a necessary evil.
Anthony and James are clearly the top free agents on the market, and Los Angeles is certainly a team with enough winning history to at least intrigue both men. Add in a bona fide star like Bryant, and several other role players, and the Lakers would be an interesting option.
Whether LA can actually make this idea come to fruition, though, is an entirely different story.
Golden State Refuses to Deal Klay Thompson to LA?
The Golden State Warriors are one of the most underrated teams in the NBA right now, and one of the keys to their success is the elite play of shooting guard Klay Thompson. Several teams, including the Lakers, have shown serious interest in the player, but Golden State looks to be unwilling to part ways with Thompson.
In a report from ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the once torn Warriors have now taken a unified stand on dealing Thompson:
Source: No way GState trading Klay Thompson to Minnesota or the Lakers.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 23, 2014
Thompson is one of the most entertaining shooting guards in the NBA. During the regular season, he racked up an impressive 18.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game and helped Golden State become one of the most feared offensive teams in the league.
At only 24 years old, and measuring at 6’7” and 205 pounds, Thompson would be the perfect player to learn under the tutelage of Bryant in the Lakers backcourt, but the Warriors look to have put the freeze on this possible deal.
Lakers interested in Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams?
The Lakers have been interested in moving the No. 7 overall pick since the draft lottery, and one of the most intriguing concepts is packaging the pick with veteran Steve Nash and his monster contract.
Los Angeles could be targeting Philadelphia and rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams.
In one of ESPN’s Chad Ford’s latest mock drafts (subscription required), he reports that the Lakers are very interested in a possible deal with the 76ers:
However, the Sixers feel the two can play together and they continue to explore Carter-Williams trades that would land them a third pick in the top 10. The Lakers have strong interest in a package of Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young for the No. 7 pick and Steve Nash. But so far there hasn't been any traction on that deal, according to sources.
Carter-Williams is one of the most intriguing young players in the NBA due to his age (just 22 years old) and his ability to fill the stat sheet already, amassing an impressive 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game.
The problem is that the 76ers were terrible last season and the rookie point guard’s numbers are likely inflated. While the team could ride with him until he becomes a top star in the league, dealing him now before he comes back to earth statistically could yield a serious return.
Moving Williams and Thaddeus Young for the No. 7 pick and Steve Nash would be a smart move for the future. Especially if Philadelphia uses the Lakers’ first-round pick as part of a package to move up to No. 1 overall.