The Los Angeles Lakers shook up its offseason plans by landing Russell Westbrook in a blockbuster trade. It’s moved the front office toward a different path to filling out the rest of the roster. However, the Lakers may still have a route to landing Sacramento Kings sharpshooter Buddy Hield.
Lakers acquire Russell Westbrook
The Lakers started its offseason off with a franchise-changing move by acquiring Westbrook.
After falling to an early playoff exit, the front office’s primary goal was to land a playmaking guard that can take some of the offensive workload off LeBron James’ and Anthony Davis’ shoulders. Westbrook more than fits that billing as an elite talent behind his all-around skill set.
The 32-year-old is coming off another highly productive campaign, averaging a triple-double for the fourth time in the last five seasons. He led the league with 38 triple-doubles while being the second player in NBA history to average at least 11.0 rebounds and 11.0 assists per game in a season. His 14 triple-doubles in April are an NBA record for a single month.
With Westbrook in the fold, the Lakers’ attention quickly shifts toward filling out the rest of the roster, which may push the team back to possibly adding a proven sharpshooter.
Lakers Still Possess a Pathway to Acquire Buddy Hield
In the days and hours before acquiring Westbrook, the Lakers hedged toward trading for Buddy Hield.
Los Angeles reportedly put on the table the same offer of Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft. The front office elected to instead head in the other direction to land the former league MVP.
However, it appears the pathway to landing Hield may not be scrapped entirely. Zach Lowe of ESPN is reporting the Lakers could involve Dennis Schroder in a sign-and-trade scenario with the Sacramento Kings.
“There is some beautiful-mind framework in which the Lakers might still sign-and-trade Schroder and acquire Hield,” Lowe wrote. “It’s just hard to find it. The Wizards and Kings don’t want Schroder, sources said. The Lakers would need a fourth team that does with assets the Kings want.”
The Kings may not want Schroder, but it opens the door to the possibility that the franchise can work out a multi-team deal. Los Angeles needs to find another team that wants to sign the 27-year-old to a deal worth around $20 million per season.
Hield would undoubtedly aid the Lakers outside shooting as well as provide dependable scoring. In his first five campaigns, he’s developed into a reliable scorer, holding career averages of 16.0 points while hitting at a 40.6% clip from 3-point range.
He’s in the second year of his four-year, $94 million contract that runs through the 2023-24 campaign with no player or team options. It would require many moving pieces to make a trade work, but the possible framework may be there.
Los Angeles will explore other options in free agency
The Lakers will certainly venture through all the potential trade packages to land Hield, but it’s a scenario that may quickly become unfeasible.
Regardless of how it unfolds, the front office will primarily add to the roster through free agency. Los Angeles is hoping to add proven talent on inexpensive deals. Players such as Rudy Gay, Carmelo Anthony, Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard, and Trevor Ariza have been linked as possibilities.
With free agency beginning on Monday evening, it sets the table for a busy offseason for Los Angeles.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.