Lakers Buyout Targets to Pursue After 2021 NBA Trade DeadlineApril 1, 2021
Lakers Buyout Targets to Pursue After 2021 NBA Trade Deadline
The buyout market has been good to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Last season, they walked away with Markieff Morris and watched him average more than 20 minutes in the NBA Finals. This year, they've already juiced their frontcourt with two-time All-Star and above-the-rim center Andre Drummond.
L.A. might not be done shopping yet, which is good because there's still some worthwhile talent either on the buyout market or potentially heading that direction sooner rather than later.
The following three targets in particular would make sense to round out this championship roster.
Avery Bradley, Houston Rockets
The Lakers could find their deadline answer in a familiar face.
Avery Bradley, who spent last season with the Purple and Gold before opting out of the restart, might be up for grabs after moving from the Miami Heat to the rebuilding Houston Rockets at the deadline. The relentless defender should have preferred-target status with his former squad.
"Bradley, a former [Lakers general manager Rob] Pelinka client, made [a] strong impression on [the Lakers] before opting out of the bubble," ESPN's Dave McMenamin tweeted.
Bradley started 44 of his 49 games with the Lakers last season, averaging 8.6 points on 44.4 percent shooting (36.4 from three) in 24.2 minutes per night. He had the rotation's third-highest net rating at plus-7.4.
Darius Miller, Oklahoma City Thunder
An offseason four-team trade sent Darius Miller to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he's never had a place in their short- or long-term plans.
He has only suited up 14 times this season for a total of 145 minutes. Needle-mover, he is not.
But he was a rotation regular for the New Orleans Pelicans the previous two campaigns for one big reason: He is a fire-baller from long distance. He almost exclusively shot from distance, and he connected on 38.8 percent of his long-range looks over that stretch.
Every team in today's NBA could use more shooting, but the Lakers might need it more than most. They'll want to keep the interior as open as possible for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to attack, so deploying a floor-spacer like Miller could provide a quietly big payoff.
Otto Porter Jr., Orlando Magic
The Lakers have one open roster spot and are hoping to fill it with a three-and-D wing, per Jovan Buha and Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
That might prove impossible to find—it might be the most coveted archetype in today's game—but maybe Otto Porter Jr. breaks loose from the Orlando Magic. After all, the Magic probably didn't target him in the Nikola Vucevic trade as much as they did his expiring $28.5 million salary.
The third overall pick in 2013, Porter has spent much of his career battling one injury issue after the next. When he gets inside the lines, though, he remains a high-level role player who contributes at both ends. He has the length and veteran know-how to pester most forwards at the defensive end, and on offense, he's a smart cutter with a career 40.3 percent success rate from long-range.
If Porter makes it to the buyout market, he'd be the ideal addition for L.A.
Statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference and NBA.com. Salary information obtained via Basketball Insiders.