Lakers Rumors: LA Will 'Aggressively' Try to Trade into 2nd Round of 2022 NBA Draft

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 10, 2022

EL SEGUNDO, CA - JUNE 06: Vice President of Operations of the Los Angeles Lakers Rob Pelinka  speaks during the Darvin Hams introductory press conference on June 06, 2022, at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers, who traded both their picks in the 2022 NBA draft, will reportedly "aggressively try to buy" a second-round selection for the June 23 event.

Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times reported Friday it's a "safe bet" the Lakers are going to make offers that include cash and/or future second-rounders and noted the team also figures to emerge as a popular destination for undrafted free agents.

L.A. would probably prefer a wide-scale roster reconstruction around the superstar tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis this summer after a disappointing season that saw the team post a 33-49 record to miss the playoffs.

That's only possible if the Lakers find a trade partner for Russell Westbrook, who was underwhelming in his first season with the franchise after being acquired last August.

The nine-time All-Star is scheduled to count $47.1 million against the salary cap in 2022-23 as part of a player option in his five-year, $206.8 million contract, which makes a trade unlikely.

In turn, the Lakers front office, led by general manager Rob Pelinka, may have to rely on a series of smaller moves to reshape the roster for new head coach Darvin Ham.

"I think one of the things we lacked last year was an identity of toughness," Pelinka told reporters Monday. "We are excited to see [how] a coach with his leadership style will bring those attributes to our team next year."

Woike didn't mention any prospects the Lakers may target with an acquired second-round pick, but Colorado forward Jabari Walker is one name to keep in mind if they're seeking an infusion of toughness.

Walker is coming off a sophomore season with the Buffaloes in which he averaged 14.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists across 33 appearances. He shot 46.1 percent from the field and knocked down 1.1 threes per contest at a 34.6 percent clip.

The first-team All-Pac 12 selection is able to guard multiple positions thanks to his length and athleticism, and he plays with terrific energy. Those factors suggest he'll be an effective role player early in his NBA career while trying to prove himself as a future starter.

While the Lakers may be able to add a few useful rookies like Walker, they'll rely even more heavily on veteran reserves on team friendly contracts in free agency to fill out the roster in the coming months.