Lakers Rumors: Latest Trade Talk, Free Agency and Pre-Draft Buzz for Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Lakers have only five players on their roster under contract for the 2021-22 season. But the offseason is about to pick up, and the team will have ample opportunities to add players and to potentially bring back some of its own.
On Thursday night, the 2021 NBA draft is set to take place. The Lakers' lone selection is the No. 22 overall pick. And while it's possible they could add a prospect, there's also the potential for them to trade the selection to acquire a proven NBA player.
Free agency will get underway Monday. That's when Los Angeles will have its best opportunities to add players to its roster ahead of the upcoming season as it looks to bounce back from its first-round playoff exit earlier this year.
With the offseason buzz heating up, here are some of the latest rumors surrounding the Lakers.
Could Lakers Trade for Shamet Before Draft?
If the Lakers are looking to trade the No. 22 overall pick, one player they could be targeting is Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Landry Shamet.
According to SNY's Ian Begley, both the Lakers and Dallas Mavericks are among the teams interested in acquiring Shamet ahead of Thursday night's draft. Why so soon when there's plenty of the offseason remaining? Because Brooklyn may be looking to add draft capital.
"Several teams have communicated with the Nets about possible trades for Shamet," Begley wrote. "Most of those scenarios involve the Nets receiving the team's first-round pick."
Despite playing only three NBA seasons, Shamet has already turned out for the Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers and Nets. He was traded to Brooklyn in November and averaged 9.3 points in 61 games during the 2020-21 campaign.
Shamet may not be a star player, but he could become a valuable contributor for the Lakers if they find the cost of acquiring him agreeable.
Potential Hield Trade 'Most Promising' Prospective Deal
LeBron James, Anthony Davis and who else? There's been a lot of buzz about the Lakers pulling off a big trade this offseason to add a third standout player to their core. But nothing has yet materialized.
Some of these rumored deals may be more likely than others. And according to The Athletic's Sam Amick, the "most promising" of the potential trades seems to be the one that would send Buddy Hield from the Sacramento Kings to Los Angeles.
Amick also noted that if the Lakers are going to pull off that deal, they would likely be sending forwards Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell to Sacramento. Harrell has a $9.72 million player option for the 2021-22 season, so he would have to opt in for that to happen.
Hield, a five-year NBA veteran, would give Los Angeles a strong third scoring option alongside James and Davis. Last season, the 28-year-old shooting guard averaged 16.6 points in 71 games. But he also shot a career-low 40.6 percent from the field, so he will be looking to bounce back in that regard.
Numerous Veterans Ready to Chase Title with Lakers?
Once the Lakers make one or two big moves, there could be plenty more on the horizon. That's because there may be a host of veterans who are waiting to see which players Los Angeles brings in to try to boost its odds of winning the NBA title next year.
During an appearance on Laker Central Podcast, Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported that many team executives around the NBA believe quite a few players are going to want to join James in trying to lead the Lakers to their second championship in three seasons.
"There's a lot of speculation right now that seems founded that the Lakers have a ton of veteran-type players ready and interested to come sign on minimum deals and go chase this ring with LeBron," Fischer said.
Who are those players? We're likely going to have to wait to find out. That's assuming Los Angeles makes a splash by adding a player such as Hield in a trade or by signing one of the top available players on the free-agent market.