The Los Angeles Lakers made a flurry of moves at the trade deadline and have one more roster spot to address the one glaring hole left. After reuniting with one former Laker in D’Angelo Russell, it appeared that the team was going to do the same with another former Laker.
The San Antonio Spurs waived Stanley Johnson and because it was his second team after being traded from the Lakers, many thought that the team would be able to bring him back. However, the CBA actually doesn’t have any language that allows a team to re-acquire a player in this situation, with Marc Stein confirming that it was not possible.
Johnson is off the table and the Lakers now need to pivot to another option. There are several players who have not started the buyout process yet that would be dream targets. But among those that have actually been bought out, one stands above the rest as a potential target for LA.
Will Barton should be the main Lakers buyout target now that Stanley Johnson is off the table.
Will Barton and the Washington Wizards are working on a contract buyout after the team was unable to move him at the deadline. While Barton undoubtedly has value to a playoff contender, he also has a $14.375 million salary that is hard to trade for.
Barton may not be the traditional small forward that Los Angeles lacks on its roster but he would still give the Lakers another option to throw on the wing. This would be insurance for the likes of Malik Beasley and Lonnie Walker IV, who have been rather inconsistent at times this season.
There is no such thing as having too much three-point shooting and Barton would give the Lakers another solid off-ball scoring threat for LeBron James to find. Barton is shooting 38% from three this season and is a 37.3% three-point shooter over the last four seasons.
He is by no means a deadeye that is going to be the best shooter on the floor but he is more than reliable, especially if he is not being asked to create his own shot in any capacity.
The Lakers signing Barton would also save Darvin Ham from himself. Ham loves to run small lineups that have two (and sometimes three) traditional point guards on the roster at the same time. Having another option with more size could keep Ham from deploying these unnecessarily small lineups in the future.
The Los Angeles Lakers have two picks in the 2023 NBA Draft even after the trade deadline. In this NBA mock draft, LA targets wings to bolster the roster.
Perhaps there is another buyout candidate that is yet to hit the market that the Lakers could pursue at a later date. If that happens, they can always waive Davon Reed. For now, Barton should probably be the priority.