As the NBA Draft is rapidly approaching, several rumors have surfaced regarding teams keeping or trading their draft picks. The Los Angeles Lakers have not been shy in making sure other teams are fully aware of the availability of the No. 7 pick. At the right price of course.
Any deal Los Angeles would be willing to make will almost be required to involve an additional draft pick, or a very skilled young asset. Perhaps the perfect team to offer both of these things will be the Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia has been attempting to construct a deal to move up in the draft from No. 10 in order to stockpile a ton of young talent for the future. The 76ers also possess the third pick in the draft, but will in all likelihood hang onto that one.
With that said, the first rumor to surface goes as follows (per Chad Ford):
Los Angeles Receives: PHI No. 10 Pick, Thaddeus Young
Philadelphia Receives: LAL No. 7 Pick
For those of you who do not know much about Young, he is a 6-foot 8 PF who is a proven contributor on the offensive end averaging 18 points per game last season. His rebounding numbers are subpar for his position at 5.5 per game for his career, and just six per game last season.
Additionally, Young’s defense could use some work, but ultimately is a solid veteran who can potentially help Los Angeles a ton in the future. Los Angeles is in desperate need of adding some talent to a team containing only three guaranteed contracts next season.
Given Young’s youth and the fact that he is entering the prime years of his career, he should be suffice to draw the Lakers’ attention to making a deal. Moving back to No. 10 in the draft isn’t so bad either as a very talented prospect will still be remaining on the board. Therefore, if the opportunity emerges to get this deal done, Los Angeles must pull the trigger.
A second trade scenario emerged later in the day (per Ryen Russillo):
Los Angeles Receives: Michael Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young
Philadelphia Receives: No. 7 Pick, Steve Nash
On paper this deal appears to be a home run, right? Acquiring the reigning Rookie of the Year and a talented power forward, both of whom could start next season, would certainly make the Lakers a bit more competitive. Would it boost them into contending status, though? It’s not likely.
Personally, I am just not comfortable imagining Los Angeles could walk away from this loaded draft with no picks once again. Yes, Carter-Williams is a young prospect, but his ROY award does not truly reflect how impactful he was last season. Remember, Philadelphia recorded the second worst record last season, so how great of a player could Carter-Williams truly be?
Secondly, getting rid of Nash’s near $10 million salary would be intriguing, but again, not at the cost of a lottery pick in this draft. Nash’s deal expires next summer and making this trade would not make the Lakers a championship contender, so shedding Nash’s contract is basically pointless. Unless Los Angeles can somehow convince Philadelphia to also include the No. 10 pick in this deal, which is impossible, the Lakers must run for cover here. Any top 10 prospect is worth the risk this year.
Don’t expect Los Angeles to make any deals until it is on the clock, though. Each of the previously listed deals may be out the window if center Joel Embiid falls into the team’s lap. I cannot imagine the Lakers passing up on Embiid even with his injury status.