Will the Lakers pull a blockbuster trade before the February trade deadline?
Weeks before the training camp starts, the Los Angeles Lakers have already filled all the 20 spots on their roster. Aside from LeBron James, the Lakers are mostly consisting of young talents and role players which make them questionable to rule the deep Western Conference next season. However, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka will surely not just sit and relax once they see the Purple and Gold struggle next season.
With the plethora of trade assets on their roster, the Lakers have the capability to pull a blockbuster trade before the February NBA trade deadline. According to Christian Rivas of SB Nation’s Silver Screen And Roll, the Lakers are now eligible to include rookies Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk in a potential trade deal.
“The trade restrictions on Los Angeles Lakers rookies Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk were lifted on Thursday, making all three players eligible to be included in potential deals. Since Wagner, Bonga, and Mykhailiuk were taken in the 2018 NBA Draft, they can be traded 30 days after they sign their rookie deals. Undrafted rookies that are signed in free agency, like Joel Berry, Jonathan Williams, and Jeffrey Carroll, can’t be traded until Dec. 15.”
Of all the three rookies, Rivas believes Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has the highest trade value. The 21-year-old Ukrainian shooting guard has shown an impressive performance at the recent NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. In seven games he played, Mykhailiuk averaged 16.6 points on 48 percent shooting from the field and 38 percent shooting from behind the arc.
Moe Wagner and Isaac Bonga are yet to prove that they are both NBA-ready, but they will surely attract teams who need young and promising talents to speed up their rebuilding process. In preparation for their plan to pursue another superstar in the summer of 2019, the Lakers could use the three rookies as trade baits to find a team who is willing to absorb Luol Deng and the remaining two years and $36.8 million on his contract. Successfully unloading Deng will enable the Lakers to have enough salary cap space to sign max free agents like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler.
However, as of now, there is no strong indication that the Lakers will be making a big move before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season. Johnson and Pelinka must first want to see how their young players will perform playing alongside LeBron James and other veterans.
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