The Los Angeles Lakers are always a staple destination during trade rumor season, and this year has been no different. But they have been patient so far, choosing to let their team get healthy and work through some of their issues.
They have also had some trade talks fall through.
That prudent approach could pay off if the Charlotte Hornets do indeed plan on buying out six-time All-Star guard Kyle Lowry.
“According to team and league sources, Kyle Lowry, who could be available if he’s bought out by Charlotte after being traded there from Miami this week, is one name to watch for the Lakers,” The Athletic’s Jovan Buha wrote on January 26.
The Miami Heat traded Lowry to the Hornets for Terry Rozier, a former Lakers target.
Lowry, 37, has joined his new team. But there are no plans for him to suit up for them just yet, with Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak looking for the most sensible option.
The 6-foot guard is averaging 8.2 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.5 rebounds this season. He is also shooting 38.5% from downtown, the fifth-highest mark of his career, which includes winning a championship with the Toronto Raptors in 2019.
He is in the final year of a three-year, $85 million contract.
Lakers Leery of ‘Lateral Moves’ in D’Angelo Russell Trade
Lowry could be a smart option for several reasons. Not the least of which is that it might not cost anything but the veteran minimum salary and a roster spot to land him.
All of the Lakers’ other options include trading Austin Reaves, which they have a very high bar for even considering. Or they have to package some combination of D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, and Gabe Vincent. All of them have limited trade value.
Hachimura and Vicent have spent much of the season sidelined with injuries.
Russell has elevated his play in recent outings, following rejoining the starting lineup. That has made him more valuable to the Lakers, though it hasn’t exactly helped his trade value.
“The Lakers view trades in which they move Russell for players like Portland’s Malcolm Brogdon, Washington’s Tyus Jones or Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie as lateral moves at best, and most likely downgrades, according to team sources,” Buha wrote.
The player option on the second year of Russell’s two-year, $36 million contract further complicates matters for the Lakers.
Lakers Contending With Jazz for Hawks’ Dejounte Murray
As if the Lakers’ discussions with the Hawks haven’t experienced enough hurdles, a new potential suitor has emerged: Utah Jazz.
“While the Jazz are confident in rookie Keyonte George’s fitness as their point guard of the future, the Jazz have also registered interest in several veterans, including Murray, sources said, to possibly hold the position in the interim,” Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote on January 26.
It’s unclear how serious the Jazz (23-23) are about committing resources to acquire Murray. But theirs is another hat in the ring. A ring that has been said to include the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks at times.
The Lakers have until the February 8 trade deadline before having to wait for Murray.
Would that thought, plus their ever-ticking clock in LeBron James’ 21st season, spur them to act before then? Or will they remain patient, with a chance to add Lowry down the road?
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