The Los Angeles Lakers finally started unloading their veterans by trading guard Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets for Corey Brewer and a first-round pick. According to the latest NBA rumors, the Lakers are also planning to move Nick Young and Luol Deng.
“The Lakers are working to unload veterans as Thursday’s NBA trade deadline approaches. Reports on Tuesday said LA continues to discuss trades involving Lou Williams, Nick Young and Luol Deng,” Tom Gatto of Sporting News reported.
Before moving Williams, the Lakers previously engaged in a trade deal with the Sacramento Kings involving star center DeMarcus Cousins. However, the Lakers didn’t proceed with the deal as the Kings were reportedly asking a trade package centered on Brandon Ingram. Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson told ESPN’s Baxter Holmes that their young players are “untouchables“.
Lakers will “strongly consider” trading veterans
Earlier this month, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype revealed that the Lakers will “strongly consider” moving their veterans. Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov emerged as top trade candidates in the past months. The speculations heated up when they lost the starting role to Brandon Ingram and Tarik Black.
Deng and Mozgov were expected to lead and guide the Lakers while waiting for the development of their young core. Unfortunately, they failed to live up to expectations and made the Lakers regret giving them a long-term deal. However, the lucrative contracts they signed last summer made it hard for the Lakers to deal them before Feb. 23 trade deadline.
Aside from Mozgov and Deng, Nick Young and Jose Calderon could also be traded next. This will let young backcourts D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson have more playing time. As coach Luke Walton said in the past, they plan to use the final months of the 2016-17 NBA season to prioritize the developments of their young players.
Trading veterans and tanking good for the Lakers
The Lakers dismal performance this season turned out to be beneficial as it would help them secure their 2017 first-round pick. If they fall outside the Top 3, they will need to forfeit the pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers will also lose their 2019 first-round pick to the Orlando Magic as part of the Steve Nash and Dwight Howard trades.
Walton is strongly against tanking but their recent move could also be headed to the same route. If they successfully unload all their veterans, their young players will have more playing time to further improve their skills. Also, Magic Johnson plans to tap the service of Kobe Bryant to take a player relations role.
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