Lakers Rumors: LA Eyeing Shooting in 2nd Wave of Free Agency, Trades

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 9, 2022

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The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly focused on adding at least one more outside shooter this offseason either via trade or the second wave of free agency.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported Saturday the Lakers are "definitely" still in the market for shooting amid persistent links to the Houston Rockets' Eric Gordon and Indiana Pacers' Buddy Hield.

Although much of the focus in L.A. so far this summer has been the potential trade of Russell Westbrook, possibly in a blockbuster deal for the Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving, the front office has so far made a series of smaller moves.

The Lakers have made five depth signings—Lonnie Walker IV, Damian Jones, Thomas Bryant, Troy Brown Jr. and Juan Toscano-Anderson—and made a trade to acquire a second-round pick used to select Michigan State's Max Christie.

Those are solid secondary moves, but they aren't enough to revitalize Los Angeles' roster after a frustrating 2021-22 campaign where it missed the playoffs with a 33-49 record.

A complete turnaround to land the 2020 NBA champions back in title contention would likely require a Westbrook deal, either for another star like Irving or to create financial flexibility for a series of upgrades around the tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Whether that's possible remains uncertain. Westbrook has a $47.1 million cap hit for next season as part of his five-year, $206.8 million contract, which creates a hurdle to any potential deal and could be difficult to move, even as an expiring deal.

The Lakers need more shooting regardless of the surrounding circumstances, but it becomes even more important if the nine-time All-Star, who struggled mightily throughout his first season in L.A., ultimately stays alongside James and Davis.

Both Gordon and Hield possess the ability to fill that roster void.

Gordon, 33, is set to enter his 15th NBA season. He's averaged 16.4 points and 2.3 threes across 749 career games. He's coming off a 2021-22 campaign with the Rockets where he shot 41.2 percent from beyond the arc, the second-best mark of his career.

The 2017 NBA Sixth Man of the Year has remained in Houston for the past few years despite the team's youth movement. He discussed the situation when his name popped up in the rumor mill ahead of the trade deadline in February.

"I'm not even thinking or worried about that," Gordon told reporters. "Things happen. Get traded or not, you've still got to play the game of basketball. Fortunately, I've been here for going on six years now, and it's been really good. I know the situation I'm in. I just continue to play my game and look forward to continue to thrive with this group of guys."

Hield, 29, has already been traded twice during his six-year career. His he went from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Sacramento Kings amid his rookie season in 2016-17 and then he got dealt from the Kings to the Pacers in February.

He's solidified himself as one of the league's most prolific three-point shooters. His 1,417 threes made over the past six seasons ranks third in the NBA behind only the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry and Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden.

Either sharpshooter would be a welcome addition to the Lakers' roster, but the L.A. front office would still have work to do even if that type of trade is pulled off.


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