The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to win the NBA Championship this season but as we all know, running an NBA team is a 365-day job. Whether the Lakers win it all or ultimately fall short, Rob Pelinka will be back in the office shortly after the final game of the season looking to maximize this summer.
While the Lakers are still playing and are obviously focused on that, there are new developments throughout the league that might impact what the Lakers do this offseason.
One new development that could impact the Lakers down the line is Otto Porter Jr. opting into his player option for the 2023-24 season with the Toronto Raptors. Toronto may have been hoping for Porter to not opt into his contract, which could create a trade opportunity for the Lake Show.
Why a Mo Bamba-Otto Porter Jr. trade could make sense for Lakers, Raptors
This is solely dependent on how both teams feel about their assets. There is a very real chance that both the Raptors and Lakers like their respective assets in this situation and do not want to move off of them. That being said, it is equally as likely (if not more likely) that both teams want to move off of these players.
Toronto has a lot of financial questions this offseason with the likes of Gary Trent Jr, Fred VanVleet and Jakob Poeltl all hitting free agency. The last thing the Raptors might want is a $6.3 million cap hit from Porter, who was injured last season and only played eight games.
Meanwhile, Bamba has a non-guaranteed salary for the 2023-24 season. The Raptors would be able to trade for Bamba and then instantly waive him to avoid paying any kind of salary next season. It has nothing to do with Bamba the player. It just has to do with the potential money saved.
As for the Lakers, Porter would be a risk but would at least align more with what the team may need next season. There is no such thing as having too much wing depth and having too much shooting, especially when you consider how disappointing Malik Beasley has been in LA thus far.
Paying Bamba over $10 million when Darvin Ham didn’t even want to play him once he became healthy is unrealistic. Porter at $6.3 million might be a risk but it would still save money and at least have a higher upside for LA.
Both teams would accomplish what they theoretically would be looking to accomplish and no extra assets would need to be included. It could be a simple, yet effective, swap.