The Los Angeles Lakers rumor mill continues to heat up following the latest trade speculations from Bleacher Report. With their playoff hopes all but gone, the Lakers are expected to make some noise on the trading front and these players are surfacing as potential trade targets for the purple-and-gold.
According to BR writer David Murphy, the Lakers front-office should begin making moves to ensure the post-Kobe Bryant era is in good hands. One move Murphy suggested is a trade that would give them veteran swingman Rudy Gay in a trade involving six players.
“One solution that would address this problem, and others, would be to send center Roy Hibbert, shooting guard Lou Williams and rookie power forward Larry Nance Jr. to the Kings in return for Gay, backup center Kosta Koufos and young athletic shooting guard Ben McLemore, whose minutes have been chopped significantly this season.”
The Sacramento Kings are looking for a playoff push in the second half of the season. And although Gay has been one of their primary scorers, the Kings seem to be ready giving up the swingman for a more balanced roster.
While Gay can’t save the Lakers from yet another miserable campaign, he can become a crucial building block of the future along with their up-and-coming youngsters (D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle).
Bleacher Report writer Joel Cordes opined that Gay is the type of player the Lakers will look to sign in the offseason, considering the lack of talent from that position. He also added that netting Koufos and McLemore along with Gay will fast-track the Lakers’ rebuilding effort.
“Sacto would be gearing up for their playoff push and giving up on McLemore, but he’s exactly the type of prospect the Lakers should be looking at right now rather than giving too many minutes to veterans. Meanwhile, Gay is the type of free agent L.A. would probably have to sign in the offseason anyway, and he’s a more complete player than Young or Williams. And finally, Koufos, who replaces Hibbert, is a younger and more versatile player, and also under a multiyear contract at a reasonable average salary of $8.2 million,” according to Cordes.
On the other hand, the Kings will have a legit backup center in Hibbert and a proven scorer in Williams, while Nance Jr. provides the energy off the bench. Murphy even added the possibility of Nick Young being thrown as another trade chip to this proposed deal.
Murphy just nailed it. The Lakers indeed need an established player to usher the future sans no.24. Gay is certainly the kind of player capable of becoming a go-to-guy and a leader of this young team. Moreover, the inclusion of Koufos and McLemore would be huge, as they provide more depth to a roster already stacked with young talented players.
On the other hand, the ball is not on Lakers court right now. For this deal to happen the Kings must buy the idea that this is the best deal available out there. Gay is still a player many teams are salivating to have and the Kings will receive tons of offers for him. To beat out these suitors, the Lakers should be straight-forward in their intention to get him by proving the Kings the pieces they desperately need.