The Los Angeles Lakers finished last season with an abysmal 27-55 record, but an offseason full of changes has led to even more rumors surrounding what the franchise still may do via trade or on the free-agency market.
With Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe a reported trade target for Los Angeles and free-agent small forward Michael Beasley on the team’s radar, the franchise could still have one or two more blockbuster moves left to make.
Here are the latest rumors surrounding the Lakers organization.
Lakers Considering a Trade for Eric Bledsoe?
Los Angeles may have added former Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin this offseason, but the franchise is reportedly kicking the tires on Phoenix restricted free agent Bledsoe as the possible long-term replacement for Steve Nash.
Bledsoe and the Suns have yet to reach a new deal, and in an interview with Kyle Burger of WVTM-TV, he made it clear there could be some tension between the team and the player as the process continues to drag on.
According to Jordan Schultz of NBC Sports, Phoenix would consider a deal, but the asking price will be high:
Hearing that Lakers have moved to front of the Eric Bledsoe sign-and-trade line. Suns want Julius Randle + HOU first-rounder.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 20, 2014
The Suns should and will do everything in their power to keep a talented young player like Bledsoe with the franchise, but the organization is smart to leave every option open in case a new deal isn’t struck.
Phoenix is asking for a lot with 2014 first-rounder Julius Randle and the first-round pick acquired from Houston, but Bledsoe may be worth it. Not only does he already have four years of experience in the NBA, but he also is only 24 years old with plenty of room to grow.
Randle has the potential to blossom into a star, but there is a risk with any unproven prospect, and the Lakers know exactly what they’d get from Bledsoe. Add in the fact that the Houston pick may be in the latter stages of the first round, and this could be a deal that works for both sides.
With rookies unable to be traded until 30 days after signing their contracts, this would be a move that comes to fruition further down the line if the two sides can strike a deal.
Los Angeles Interested in Michael Beasley?
Another player the Lakers are reportedly interested in is former Miami Heat role player Michael Beasley. While he has never lived up to the expectations of a No. 2 overall pick, Beasley still has the raw talent needed to contribute.
Beasley fell out of favor in Miami (only averaged 15.1 minutes per game) but can easily average double-digit points when given the time. He averaged 10.1 points in 20.7 minutes per game in 2012-13 with Phoenix.
According to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, there are several teams reportedly interested in Beasley, and Los Angeles could be one of them:
Several teams have expressed interest in free agent Michael Beasley. Teams like the efficiency and maturity he showed last season in Miami.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 26, 2014
Michael Beasley is currently training in LA with Kevin Durant. Lakers could make sense for Beasley. He'd be a good fit to fill out roster.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 26, 2014
The Lakers already have talent at the small forward position with Nick Young and Wesley Johnson, but Beasley’s versatility and willingness to come off the bench would make him a smart addition to the team.
Beasley also has the ability to play power forward against smaller lineups. If Los Angeles ends up pulling the trigger on the Bledsoe deal and moves Randle, Beasley could play both forward roles off the bench when needed.
After yet another lackluster statistical season, the 25-year-old will not be looking for a huge contract. With the Lakers already strapped fiscally with the recent moves, Beasley could be an affordable addition who becomes a serious difference-maker.
*Stats via NBA.com.