Lakers News: Latest Buzz Surrounding 2019 NBA Draft Plans

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 6, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, right, smiles as he walks past New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

For better or worse, this is a massive offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers.

They have the assets to make a cannonball-sized splash, or maybe even more than one. They have the cap space to court a star in free agency and the trade capital to potentially pull off a major swap.

But if they can't deliver on either front, life with LeBron James could get very interesting. The 34-year-old has a finite amount of time left to add to his ring collection, and L.A. has yet to prove it's the place where he can do that.

Given this summer's super-sized stakes, the buzz around this team is nearing a fever pitch. Let's break down the latest below.


Anthony Davis Trade Watch

After winning the No. 4 pick at the draft lottery, the Lakers added another potential trade chip for the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. Add some of their young prospects to the mix, and the appeal of their possible trade package is undeniable.

In fact, rival executives believe the Lakers are one of four teams who can compile the best packages, per The Athletic's Shams Charania. The New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets are the others.

While L.A. has the arsenal to compete with those clubs—though topping Boston could be tricky if it puts Jayson Tatum in play—it's unclear if everyone is on a level playing field. Some people occupying "positions of influence" for the New Orleans Pelicans would prefer to send Davis to anyone other than the Lakers, sources told SNY's Ian Begley.

Does that mean the Lakers must put all their assets on the table to have a chance? At what point do the Pelicans' trade demands become unreasonably steep? All this bears watching and could potentially send shockwaves across the basketball world.


Suns Not Offering No. 6 Pick for Lonzo Ball

The Phoenix Suns tried accelerating their rebuild last season, acquiring veterans like Trevor Ariza, Jamal Crawford and Ryan Anderson. But they never added a proven point guard, and the situation predictably spiraled out of control.

One year later, it sounds like the Suns are still keen on pressing the gas pedal. ESPN's Jonathan Givony reported Phoenix's front office has informed other clubs it would move the No. 6 pick for "the right veteran guard."

It's unclear who that guard would need to be, other than it's likely a point guard.

According to Arizona Sports 98.7's John Gambadoro, though, that player is not Lakers' point guard Lonzo Ball:

John Gambadoro @Gambo987

There is NO truth to this - Suns not offering #6 for Lonzo https://t.co/vCjaOobkFL

The 21-year-old Ball is not a veteran, but that shouldn't keep him off the Suns' radar. He's on the same timeline as 22-year-old Devin Booker and 20-year-old Deandre Ayton, and his game could accentuate both.

Ball will have the Suns running and gunning, he's not so ball-dominant that he'd stunt the others' growth and his defensive versatility would scratch a significant itch.

Only Phoenix knows whether that would make him worth the No. 6 pick.


Jarrett Culver Gets First Individual Workout

The No. 4 pick is of the utmost importance for the Lakers, and that's just as true if they draft and develop a blue-chip prospect as it is if they use the selection to broker a blockbuster.

The significance adds a level of intrigue to the team's pre-draft workouts. The Lakers recently held their first individual workout, which could offer an indication of what they're hoping to get.

Texas Tech shooting guard Jarrett Culver received the audition and proved, if nothing else, that confidence is not in short supply with him.

"I'm a two-way player, an elite two-way player," Culver told the assembled media. "I can score and I can play defense. I feel like people see that a lot in me."

The 20-year-old was named Big 12 Player of the Year this past season and guided the Red Raiders to the national championship game. He was the team's top performer in points (18.5), rebounds (6.4) and assists (3.7).