The next trades Lakers must make after Rui Hachimura deal with Wizards
01/23/2023 06:31 PM
With the Feb. 9 trade deadline approaching, the clock is ticking for organizations to make their final moves. Teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers are still trying to get pieces for a final playoff push. On Monday, the Lakers made their first of potentially many trades by reportedly acquiring Rui Hachimura. In the deal, Los Angeles is sending guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks to the Washington Wizards. The Japanese forward is averaging 13 points a night with shooting splits of 49-34-76. With Anthony Davis dealing with injuries this season, Hachimura could help the team during the star’s absence. Despite the Hachimura trade, the Lakers could still be very active in the trade market. At 22-25 and currently out of the Play-In Tournament zone, the front office is likely still in talks for trades that could turn the season around. With that being said, here are two trades the Los Angeles Lakers must make after the Rui Hachimura deal with the Wizards. Acquire Buddy Hield in a 3-team deal involving Russell Westbrook There are many areas that the Lakers must address ahead of the trade deadline. One of them is certainly their shooting. So far, the team is hitting only 33.7 percent of its 3-point attempts, ranking the Lakers in the bottom five in the league in that category. LeBron James is making an abysmal 28.8 percent of his 3-pointers, which would be the lowest of his career. Davis and Russell Westbrook are also shooting below 30 percent from beyond the arc. Because of that, bringing in a 3-point specialist is a must for the Lakers. An interesting option is Buddy Hield, who has been linked with Los Angeles for multiple years. The shooting guard is averaging 17.5 points while making 42.2% of his 3-pointers. He currently leads the league with 3-point shots made with 181, which is 20 more than the second place and 24 more than Stephen Curry. Since Hield is making $21.18 million this season and is under contract for 2023-24, it might be difficult to complete a deal considering the assets that Los Angeles has, or lack thereof. To bring Hield, the Lakers could offer Russell Westbrook, who is showing some promise as a sixth man, along with some future draft capital. The problem is that Westbrook is making $47 million this season. This means that a third team might get involved to absorb his salary. Either way, acquiring a 3-point specialist like Hield could be a game-changer that is worth sacrificing some veterans for. Bring Gary Payton II in exchange for a package with Patrick Beverley Other than 3-pointers, the team should also focus on improving its defense for the remainder of the season. The Lakers allow on average 118 points per game, ranking No. 26 in the NBA. That means they could go after some defensive-minded players ahead of the trade deadline. A name that could work is Gary Payton II. Coming off a breakout year where he won a title with the Golden State Warriors, the journeyman has struggled with injuries. Still, when healthy, he showed he can contribute to a playoff team. In seven games with the Portland Trail Blazers, he is averaging over a steal a night and shooting 57.9% from the field. Since the Blazers are aiming for a title, they might not be willing to wait until Payton is fully recovered. So, the Lakers could take advantage and bring him in a package surrounding Patrick Beverley. The veteran is also a defensive weapon but somewhat negates that with his offensive woes. His field goal percentage is below 40 percent on 5.1 shots per contest, so he offers virtually nothing on the offensive end. Still, if the Lakers are looking to improve on defense, they may opt to hold onto Beverley, and could instead try to move on from other players or draft-pick packages. Bringing a player like Payton could significantly help the Lakers on the defensive end. With him, they should have a better chance of closing out games against some NBA Western Conference powerhouses such as the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies. The post The next trades Lakers must make after Rui Hachimura deal with Wizards appeared first on ClutchPoints.