NBA trades: What should the Lakers do at the deadline?

The NBA trade deadline comes up on Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern, so we’ve decided to throw the spotlight on some specific teams who could be active to either help bolster their playoff chances or clean house in order to rebuild for the future.

Let’s start with the Los Angeles Lakers, who are contending with LeBron James and Anthony Davis providing one of the league’s most talented 1-2 punches. But they could use some help, perhaps with their depth on the bench behind LeBron and The Brow. Here’s who they should trade for and our prediction on what the franchise will actually do..

What the Lakers should do

Kyle Kuzma is used to hearing his name attached to trade speculation, but the Lakers made sure to keep the now-24-year-old around for the future when they made the massive trade for Anthony Davis. Kuzma is once again at the center of trade rumors – and he’s struggled at times this season, after missing time early in the year due to an injury.

Unless the Lakers can somehow flip Kuzma into an asset that will significantly improve their chances of winning a title in June, though, it seems unwise to trade him at the moment. Kuzma has shown in previous years that he can be a reliable scorer, and but the Lakers haven’t yet figured out how to fit him into the lineup effectively. He’s not yet close to reaching his full potential, however, and it’s possible that if a trade happens, the Lakers could watch him become a Brandon Ingram-level impact player elsewhere in the coming years.

The Lakers have the best record in the West, and team chemistry is currently “something to behold,” according to Shams Charania. If a no-brainer deal doesn’t appear, there’s no point in messing that up. The Lakers also will have other opportunities to improve their team via free agency, as vets will be lining up for a chance to win a title.

What the Lakers will do

Make zero trades and sign Darren Collison before March 1st. A Derrick Rose trade is unlikely because the Pistons are reportedly asking for a first-round pick. Similarly, the Lakers can’t give the Kings what they want for Bogdan Bogdanovic. Andre Iguodala is reportedly being pursued by the Heat. Unless Rob Pelinka can work some magic, I’d expect the Lakers to stand pat and add a player ahead of the playoff eligibility deadline.

Contracts worth noting

Kyle Kuzma — $1.97 million in 2019-20, $3.56 million next season

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — $8.49 million player option next season

Rajon Rondo — $2.61 million player option next season

$1.75M disabled player exception (from DeMarcus Cousins’ injury)

This content was originally published here.

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