3 Trade Targets for Lakers to Pursue at 2022 Deadline

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2022

3 Trade Targets for Lakers to Pursue at 2022 Deadline

0 of 3

    Fernando Medina/Getty Images

    It's hard to say whether the Los Angeles Lakers should be seeking a champagne upgrade at the 2022 NBA trade deadline, but this much is certain: They're operating on a cheap-beer budget.

    With so much salary tied up in the trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the presumably untradeable Russell Westbrook, the Lakers will have a hard enough time making the money work in any substantial deal. Add to that a dearth of draft assets and up-and-coming prospects, and there isn't a whole lot for this front office to offer around.

    The good news is the Lakers might not be in as much trouble as their sub-.500 record suggests. Injuries have limited the aforementioned triumvirate to just 15 appearances so far, so improved health and more time to adjust could help this club start to turn things around.

    The not-so-good news is this top-heavy roster needs some reinforcing, and, again, that will be tricky to engineer. With L.A. likely out of the running for top-tier targets, the following three more sensible options could add something to the mix.

Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets

1 of 3

    Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

    In the not-so-distant past, the four-year, $76 million extension Eric Gordon inked with the Houston Rockets ahead of the 2019-20 season threatened to age horrifically. Already in his 30s at the time of the deal, his shots stopped falling, and his absences piled up at an alarming rate.

    However, timing is everything for trade targets, and Gordon has used this season as a personal trampoline to provide a necessary bounce-back. In fact, both his field-goal percentage (50.6) and three-point splash rate (45.2) have crested to new career-highs, a development sure to catch the attention of the often spacing-challenged Lakers.

    Of equal importance, Gordon is a more than capable point-of-attack defender. It's hard to overstate the importance of that to an L.A. team that has desperately missed the on-ball defensive presence of players like Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

    Gordon should draw not insignificant interest, but his age, health history and remaining salary ($18.2 million this season, $19.6 million for the next, per Spotrac) might scare off enough suitors and open the door for L.A. to put the best offer on the table.

Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic

2 of 3

    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    When the Orlando Magic went full-on fire-sale mode at last year's trade deadline, they forgot to give Terrence Ross his ticket out of town.

    As the lone veteran left behind, he has looked more out of place than a fish out of water. Orlando's reduction in polished players has also taken a hit on Ross' production, leaving the veteran with some of the worst shooting marks of his career (40.6 from the field, 31.0 from range).

    The Lakers shouldn't hold that against him. They might even welcome them—presuming they think a trade would snap him out of this funk, of course—since they could keep his trade cost down.

    Assuming the 30-year-old hasn't tumbled into a deep decline, he can still put up points in bunches. There's always been some streakiness with his scoring, but he also hasn't played with gravitational stars like James and Davis, so maybe Ross would become more consistent with presumably cleaner spot-up looks. Tack on point-blank finishing and not atrocious perimeter defense, and he belongs somewhere on L.A.'s radar.

Kenrich Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder

3 of 3

    Allison Farrand/Getty Images

    Listen closely: Can you hear the excitement buzzing out of L.A.? Nope, those are just crickets, actually.

    Look, Kenrich Williams is a rotational reserve for the mini-market Oklahoma City Thunder. The Sooner State's spotlight doesn't exactly shine as bright as Hollywood's, so Lakers fans are forgiven for not being blown away by this recommendation.

    Still, the Lakers coaching staff would love Williams, nicknamed "Kenny Hustle" for his insatiable energy and non-stop motor. L.A.'s stars would like him, too, for his two-way versatility and a low-maintenance game that should make him an effortless fit.

    His talent won't blow you away—he's a career 6.4-points-per-game scorer—but his glue-guy game is what the Lakers need out of their role players. If his trade cost is reasonable (say, a few second-rounders, perhaps), he should be a natural target.