Lakers Rumors: Latest Reports Following 2016 NBA Draft Lottery

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2016

The Los Angeles Lakers sit on the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft.
The Los Angeles Lakers sit on the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft.Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers were the biggest winners of the 2016 NBA draft lottery. 

Some would argue the title goes to former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie, but the Lakers grabbed the No. 2 pick and in the process have given the keys of the rebuild to Mitch Kupchak.

Kupchak can now take the rebuilding route of his choosing, picking from among the best players in the 2016 class or dealing the pick before heading to free agency this summer, a period headlined by Kevin Durant.

“We’re in a much better situation than we were a year ago,” Kupchak said, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. “To have the season like we had and not have something to show for it is not the way we wanted it to go.”  

As always, the results of the lottery have spurred new conversation and rumblings around the Lakers. To help keep up with the tide, here's a look at the latest as the Lakers get ready to tackle an interesting, critical scenario.

The Brandon Ingram-Ben Simmons Debate Begins

For the Lakers, the debate is now official.

The Kobe Bryant retirement tour was fun, but dreams of Brandon Ingram-Ben Simmons had to persist in the back of minds as folks watched the Lakers flounder to the worst finish in franchise history.

Consider the bad times over. Now, it's about a debate between the two best players in the class, Ingram and Simmons. The former is a 6'10", 196-pound forward who can shoot from deep, and the latter is a 6'10", 239-pound forward with perhaps more upside than any player in each of the past five drafts or more.

As ESPN's Chad Ford revealed, upside has the Lakers thinking Simmons:

Chad Ford @chadfordinsider

If Lakers get No. 1? Major debate in front office between Simmons-Ingram. Ingram a better fit. But team leans Simmons b/c of star potential

The Lakers didn't wind up getting No. 1, which means the 76ers could take the decision out of their hands.

Ingram isn't a terrible consolation prize by any means. He needs to add bulk, but a guy who shot 41 percent from deep last year would be welcome in a lineup featuring D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle.

What's interesting, though, is Simmons could still land in Los Angeles. Maybe Philadelphia wants to keep the run on Duke products going or simply likes Ingram more. Or maybe Simmons makes it clear he doesn't want to play anywhere but Los Angeles.

No matter how it shakes out, folks now have a good idea as to which superstar prospect the Lakers prefer at No. 2.

Assuming they keep the pick.

Would Lakers Trade No. 2?

Now for the interesting part. 

It's important to keep in mind these are the Lakers. The traditional rebuilding process hasn't been kind to the organization, especially for one so accustomed to the instant-gratification ways of the past. Is now the time the Lakers get tired of walking the patient route?


Ford revealed before the draft that the Lakers would entertain the idea of trading a top selection: "Multiple sources said at the combine this week that they expect the pick to be in play if it's No. 3—with the Lakers looking for a young veteran in return."

Again, the Lakers landed at No. 2, but there's still a worthwhile nugget there—it would take a "young veteran" to get the Lakers to move a pick.

Now pair this info with the fact Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding just echoed Ford's sentiments after the draft:

Still, the Lakers will actively explore trading the pick. They want to get better as soon as possible—in part to make sure Philadelphia doesn’t get too good of a pick next year when the Lakers’ first-rounder conveys to the 76ers if it’s outside the top three. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is also seeking a better blend of youth and experience on the roster.

The Lakers are happy with the core of Russell, Clarkson and Randle. Instead of waiting on another prospect to develop alongside the others, though, why wouldn't the front office take a look at grabbing Paul George, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler or even DeMarcus Cousins?

Those guys qualify as "young veterans," as odd as a label that might seem. And if the goal is to coerce someone such as Durant or another superstar to town this summer, having another veteran in place so it doesn't look like a complete rebuild would be ideal. 

The globe isn't close to finding out how Kupchak and the Lakers tackle this rebuild, but things have gone from nail-biting chaos to hand-rubbing excitement over the options available seemingly overnight.

At the least, the world now knows where the Lakers stand in the draft, and the little that has dribbled out has shown this is the summer the organization looks to take a major leap forward. 

The how part of the equation is what makes the Lakers the top team to watch in the coming weeks.

All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

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