Lakers Rumors: Latest on Chris Paul, DeMar DeRozan Trade Buzz, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2020

Lakers Rumors: Latest on Chris Paul, DeMar DeRozan Trade Buzz, More

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Lakers might be the reigning NBA champions, but they can ill afford to rest on their laurels as they look to make a successful title defense in 2020-21.

    Anthony Davis will presumably return to the team—the only question is how long his next contract will run. General manager Rob Pelinka doesn't need to do anything drastic with the roster.

    However, the Golden State Warriors will have a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, while the Los Angeles Clippers will want to atone for their postseason implosion. The Western Conference isn't getting any easier.

    Especially with the brief offseason, bringing in reinforcements will ease the burden on Davis and LeBron James a bit too.

    Here is what's being reported about the Lakers as they look to augment their squad.

Paul Doesn't Want Lakers Trade

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    Finally, we can talk about a new hypothetical Chris Paul trade involving the Lakers.

    Paul probably won't be suiting up for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2020-21. The hiring of Mark Daigneault as head coach furthered the notion the franchise is looking to start its rebuild. And now would be the best time to trade Paul as he was an All-NBA second team guard this past year.

    Playing for the Lakers would give the 10-time All-Star a great shot at capturing that elusive NBA title.

    However, Stephen A. Smith reported Wednesday on ESPN's First Take that Paul isn't too keen on the move and hypothesized that it's due to the fact that L.A. is already a world champion.

    To say Paul is "ring-chasing" if he were to sign off on a Lakers trade would be somewhat unfair because that accusation could be leveled in almost any circumstance in which he's dealt. He wouldn't want to leave Oklahoma City to play for a cellar-dweller.

    And this would be different than Gary Payton and Karl Malone signing with a Lakers squad that had recently reeled off three straight Finals wins.

    But one could understand why Paul might relish the opportunity to get a franchise over the hump more than playing for the team that's already standing atop the mountain.

Lakers Interested in DeRozan

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    DeMar DeRozan figures to be another veteran on the move.

    He has a $27.7 million player option for 2020-21. Even assuming he picks that up, he may not be in the San Antonio Spurs' plans. Missing the playoffs showed that the Spurs could be headed for a period of transition, making it important to start looking toward the long term.

    The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported Los Angeles could propose a deal for DeRozan that would include Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma.

    It became clear during his time with the Toronto Raptors that DeRozan couldn't be the No. 1 scoring option on a team with title aspirations. He's shooting 23.3 percent from three-point range through six postseason trips.

    The 31-year-old has never been a great defender, either. He ranked 87th among small forwards in defensive real plus-minus (minus-1.68) in 2019-20, per ESPN.com.

    DeRozan would give the Lakers an additional scorer to supplement James and Davis. Going from Green to DeRozan would be a downgrade defensively, though. That could become a big problem in the playoffs.

Lakers Work Out Mannion Ahead of Draft

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    Los Angeles has the 28th overall pick in the 2020 draft. According to the Los Angeles Times' Broderick Turner, the team recently held a virtual workout for former Arizona star Nico Mannion.

    Mannion carried big expectations into his college career with the Wildcats. He was the ninth-best player overall in 247Sports' composite rankings for the 2019 recruiting class.

    The 6'3" guard didn't live up to the hype in his lone season at Arizona. He averaged 14.0 points and 5.3 assists in 32 appearances. He also shot 39.2 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from beyond the arc.

    Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman ranked Mannion at No. 37 in his most recent big board:

    "Despite being the only freshman in the country to average at least 14 points and five assists, Mannion has gradually slipped down boards. He's become a potential value pick in the 20s or 30s with a high skill level as a shot-maker and passer. The concern stems from his struggles to separate one-on-one and get to the rim."

    Unless they trade up, the Lakers can't expect to get an All-Star in the first round. Mannion's scoring and playmaking would address two of the team's needs, and his limited role with L.A. would allow him to play to his strengths.