The Los Angeles Lakers didn't have LeBron James (groin) against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. However, they still managed to pick up a win thanks to a strong showing by Anthony Davis.
Davis finished with 37 points and 18 rebounds, as the Lakers rolled to a 116-103 victory.
The win put an end to L.A.'s latest losing streak, but at 3-10, the Lakers still appear to be long shots to make the NBA postseason this year. A trade, however, could change the trajectory, and the Lakers could find an enticing trade package in Detroit.
According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers have had an eye on sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanović since before the Detroit Pistons acquired him from the Utah Jazz:
"After the Utah Jazz dispatched Royce O’Neale, Rudy Gobert and then Donovan Mitchell across the map, rival front offices expected Bogdanovic’s inevitable departure to deliver another of Utah’s proven postseason performers to a team with contending aspirations. The Lakers certainly called, sources told Yahoo Sports."
There are a couple of reasons why making a run at Bogdanović would be logical for the Lakers. The first is that the 33-year-old is flourishing as a shooter in Detroit. Bogdanović has made 43 percent of his shots from beyond the arc and a whopping 50.5 percent from the floor.
That's a level of shooting consistency that the Lakers lack.
The second reason is that, as Fischer outlined on Friday, a trade package could theoretically include another player who has previously interested the Lakers, Alec Burks.
"Were the Lakers to circle back on Bogdanovic, his deal alongside Alec Burks’—whom New York discussed with Los Angeles at last year's deadline, per sources—plus Nerlens Noel’s $9 million salary, would meet Russell Westbrook’s large number," Fischer wrote.
Noel would largely be a throw-in, but Burks could be an intriguing option. He's working his way back from foot surgery and has only appeared in one game this season, but the 31-year-old topped 40 percent from three-point range in each of his last three seasons.
Fischer noted that Los Angeles would likely have to surrender point guard Russell Westbrook and a first-round pick in a trade, and this isn't the first time we've heard of a Westbrook-for-Bogdanović trade proposal.
Last month, Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported that L.A. had offered a package that included Russell Westbrook, a future first-round pick and second-rounders in a potential deal for Bogdanović. With Burks also possibly in the mix, this is a trade that the Lakers must at least reconsider.
Yes, Westbrook has started to carve out a role as L.A.s sixth man—though he was far less effective (4-of-15) on Sunday. However, the Lakers' best chance of success would come from having quality shooting around Davis and James, who can create space on the perimeter.
This was a strategy the Lakers employed during their run to the 2020 championship, during which Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, Quinn Cook and Avery Bradley all shot above 36 percent from the three-point line.
This season, Matt Ryan and Austin Reaves are the only Lakers shooting better than 36 percent while attempting one or more three-pointers per game. Opposing teams haven't had to worry about the long ball on a consistent basis. Adding Burks and Bogdanović could change that.
The big question, of course, is whether the Lakers still believe this season is salvageable. Sunday's win was nice, but L.A. still holds the second-worst record in the Western Conference. Abandoning a future first-round pick only makes sense if the Lakers believe they can turn things around in a hurry.
While it's not clear how the front office views the team's chances this season, it appears that several key players would like to see a win-now move made, possibly one involving L.A.'s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks. According to Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes, James is chief among them:
"James, who turns 38 next month and is in Year 20 of his NBA career, does not want to waste a season of his high-level playing days in hopes of incoming reinforcements for the 2023-24 campaign, sources say. Other core players on the roster would likewise prefer those picks to be used to elevate this year’s team."
However, Haynes also reported that the front office is "unlikely" to attach L.A.'s future first-rounders in a deal. If acquiring Burks and Bogdanović only requires one of them, perhaps a deal with Detroit could serve as an ideal compromise.
A deal for, say, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers would likely require both first-round picks.
Evan Sidery @esidery
Current offer on the table is Russell Westbrook + 2027 1st for Myles Turner + Buddy Hield, per <a href="https://twitter.com/bkravitz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@bkravitz</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/JMV1070?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JMV1070</a> today. The Pacers will accept if the Lakers also include their 2029 1st. <a href="https://t.co/8lmbWz3C03">https://t.co/8lmbWz3C03</a>
If the Lakers could get Bogdanović and Burks for a single first-rounder, it would add the shooting help L.A. needs while preserving a valuable bit of capital for a future move—or the seemingly unlikely option of drafting in the first round.
It's a trade that the Lakers have to consider, as it would strike a balance between trying to win now, planning for next season and appeasing core players like James.
Interestingly, Los Angeles will get a firsthand look at Bogdanović and Burks when it hosts the Pistons on Friday.