The Los Angeles Lakers were the most active team at the NBA trade deadline but they were not the only team to improve their roster. Several Western Conference teams took big swings for superstars to improve their chances of winning a championship this season.
One of the smaller moves that will still improve a contender for the playoffs is the Golden State Warriors’ four-team trade that brought back Gary Payton II. Payton was a key part of the Warriors’ defensive identity last season and bringing him back is huge.
There has been some controversy around Payton’s health and the information that the Blazers made available to the Warriors. All that aside, once Payton is healthy he is going to make a big difference defensively for Golden State.
While the trade deadline has passed, the Lakers should learn from this Warriors example and potentially follow their lead (if possible) over the summer with a defensive-minded former fan favorite of their own.
Los Angeles Lakers should pursue an Alex Caruso trade over the summer.
The Chicago Bulls were expected to do something at the trade deadline and decided to stay put entirely. Chicago has not been living up to expectations this season and many believed that the team would pivot and sell off its assets.
This was a case where the Bulls did not have to do this at the deadline and could have waited until the summer, which might be what happens. Zach LaVine’s future with the Bulls is not set in stone and if he demands out this summer we could see the Bulls blow it up entirely.
That is where the Lakers can come in and try to swoop up and trade for Alex Caruso. Los Angeles will have a newfound asset this summer as they will be able to trade whatever pick they end up with in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Los Angeles has to swap picks with New Orleans so whichever is the worse of the two is going to be the pick that the Lakers get. Right now that New Orleans pick would be the 16th in the draft, although a lot can change with the new-look West.
That could be enough to convince the Bulls to move on from Caruso, who will have two more years under contract with the second of which being partially guaranteed.
Los Angeles might be more willing to make this kind of trade with all of the young assets that they brought in at the deadline. That 2023 first-round pick may not be as important when you have youth on the roster, allowing the team to get creative with the first-round pick if they deem fit.
The Los Angeles Lakers had 3 players debut on Saturday against the Golden State Warriors. Here are game grades for each player.
Regardless, the Lakers made the mistake of not re-signing Caruso two summers ago whereas the Warriors were forced to let Payton walk. The Warriors righted that wrong and the Lakers should take that as an example.