Proposed Lakers trade for polarizing wing is actually genius

Mar 22, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham talks with Rob Pelinka, Vice President of Operations, prior to the game against the Phoenix Suns at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham talks with Rob Pelinka, Vice President of Operations, prior to the game against the Phoenix Suns at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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While the Los Angeles Lakers are currently battling for an NBA Championship, some are already looking ahead at how the team can improve in the offseason. After all, if a team is not improving year-to-year then it is getting worse.

The moves that Rob Pelinka made at the trade deadline give the Lakers flexibility to go in a multitude of directions over the summer. That might mean bringing the current nucleus back but it also could mean making a swing at the fences.

Bleacher Report recently put together a list of one ambitious trade target for every NBA team this offseason and while the ambitious tag might make it seem out of the realm of possibility, the trade suggested for the Lake Show actually makes a lot of sense.

The trade is for none other than John Collins, who has seemingly been on the trade market for years.

Why this John Collins trade is genius for the Los Angeles Lakers:

This would be an excellent way of flipping two assets that probably don’t have a place on the Lakers next season for someone who could absolutely raise the ceiling of the team. If LA doesn’t end up trading Bamba and/or Beasley then it might just wipe its hands with them as Beasley has a club option and Bamba has a non-guaranteed deal.

But by doing this, the Lakers could turn that salary into a similar salary in Collins. While he struggled last season, Collins still has a lot of potential to be a difference-maker in the NBA.

Let’s be honest, playing with Trae Young isn’t the easiest thing in the world and his heliocentric play style definitely is having an impact on Collins. He has shown that he can play at a consistently high level in the past, averaging 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 40% from three and 56.8% from the field from 2019-2021.

Los Angeles has notoriously gotten the most out of players. If this team turned Rui Hachimura into a legitimate playoff guy that swung a series imagine what it could do with someone with a higher ceiling in Collins.

So why does Atlanta do this trade? Collins is a distressed asset that has been on the market for years with no suitors. This is not the kind of trade package that Atlanta initially wanted but at this point, the Lakers might be the only team willing to take on Collins’ contract.

Collins has two more years under contract with a player option for the 2025-26 season. He is making over $25 million in each of the three seasons. He has not been worth that the last two seasons.

But by doing this, Atlanta could at least add a cost-controlled rotation player (17th overall pick) an off-ball shooter (Beasley) and a contract they can outright waive (Bamba). This gives the team more depth and allows them to get under the tax, which is something the organization has already shown to prioritize.

Next. 22 players the Lakers gave up on too early. dark