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Lakers ‘Most Realistic’ Offseason Trade Target, Revealed

Los Angeles Lakers executive Rob Pelinka

The Los Angeles Lakers are known star-gazers and, this offseason, they have their sights set on the Eastern seaboard. According to The Athletic insider Jovan Buha, the Lakers are going “third star hunting” this offseason, and the singular name that he’s hearing —the “most realistic one”— is Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young.

Trae Young is Lakers ‘Most Realistic’ Offseason Trade Target

In a live Q&A segment, Buha answers a question about whether the Lakers will be looking for a star this offseason:

“Yes, they are. I can confirm that from multiple sources. They are going third-star hunting this offseason. We’ll see how that affects the [D’Angelo Russell] situation. You’ll probably have to give up Austin [Reaves] in almost any third-star trade… The one name I continuoly hear is Trae Young… He’s a Klutch Sports client. That’s probably the most realistic one right now.”

Buha also notes that Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell could be offseason targets for the Lakers.

Darkhorse Trade Targets

In the case of Irving, Buha speculates that it could come down to how the Mavericks fare in the upcoming postseason after missing the playoffs last season altogether. Irving was a free agent last offseason and was considered a trade target for the Lakers before the Brooklyn Nets sent him to Dallas. Irving and LeBron James were teammates in Cleveland for three seasons, winning the first championship in Cavs history in 2016.

Mitchell is now leading the charge in Northeast Ohio. However, as Buha notes, there’s a sense in Cleveland that they have a legitimate chance of retaining the All-Star. Furthermore, Mitchell has long been tied to the New York Knicks due to his roots. As a result, it seems like he would head there or perhaps to the Brooklyn Nets if he were to leave the Cavs

“What happens with Dallas and Kyrie? Do they flame out? Do they lose in the Play-In? Do they lose in Round 1? Does Dallas ultimately break that up and then what’s the market for Kyrie?

Donovan Mitchell, it seems like there’s been a little bit more growing optimism and buzz that he’s going to stay in Cleveland. But even if he leaves, the two New York teams have reportedly been the favorites just because he’s from the Greater New York area.”

The Fit

Ultimately, even if there could be a dark horse candidate, Young is the most sensible trade target for the Lakers.

One of the NBA’s premier playmakers, Young is averaging 26.4 points and 10.8 assists per game this season while shooting 37.1 percent from 3. There will be questions about his ability to take a backseat to James; he’s been the offensive engine in Atlanta since being drafted. However, players will defer when they know a player is better or when it’s for the greater good.

In L.A., the trio of James, Young, and Anthony Davis would all help each other tremendously on the offensive end. Young’s playmaking will help James and Davis get easy points. His shot-creation and shot-making will take even more weight off of them. James’ playmaking, scoring, and gravity will do the same for Young and Davis. Davis is a more than capable scorer, averaging at least 20 points per game every season since 2013-2014. Furthermore, his backline defense is the best that either James or Young have had in their career.

The Trade Parameters

“Now, of course, whether they get him is going to come down to are they willing to put all three (first round) picks, two picks. Is it Austin and Max [Christie]? Is it just Austin? You gotta have the matching salary of course. Is that Rui [Hachimura]? Is that [Jarred Vanderbilt]? Do they send DLo there as well? There’s a lot of different ways that can play out…”

The questions for the feasibility of a trade come down to the parameters of the deal.

The Hawks will likely want Austin Reaves and two or three first-round picks for Young minimum. After all, Young is one of the best players in the NBA and hasn’t even reached his prime yet. That said, when the Hawks and Lakers broached trade talks about Dejounte Murray, moving Reaves was a sticking point for Los Angeles.

For a player of Young’s caliber, they’ll likely loosen their grip on the fan favorite. Yet, there’s a gulf between Young and Reaves in talent. As a result, the Lakers will likely need to surrender Rui Hachimura to help make up for the difference. Atlanta was rumored to be resistant to adding Russell to the roster around the trade deadline.


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