With the 2023 NBA Draft in the rear-view mirror and free agency around the corner, the NBA rumors have really started to take off. With a lot of financial flexibility and being the biggest team in the league, the Los Angeles Lakers have been connected in a lot of the rumors around the league.
Even with the Lakers do not have a direct connection there is still a conversation to be had. That is the situation with the latest player that has reportedly been on the trade block, New Orleans’ Jonas Valanciunas.
According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Valanciunas has been made available by the Pelicans with teams such as the San Antonio Spurs taking interest. Valanciunas has one more year under contract and New Orleans is reportedly searching for a more mobile, rim-protecting big.
While Los Angeles has not yet been reported as an interested team, Valanciunas would make sense for the purple and gold.
Lakers should reach out to Pelicans for Jonas Valanciunas after latest NBA rumors
Los Angeles desperately lacked size last season and one of the key reasons why the team fell short so easily to the Denver Nuggets was the lack of reliable bigs outside of Anthony Davis. When you are playing Nikola Jokic, you need more reliable depth in the frontcourt.
Valanciunas would help solve that problem for the Lake Show and would help in so many more ways as well. Not only would he help take some of the load off of AD but he would also open up more avenues on offense as well.
While Valanciunas is not known for being a shooter, he is someone who is capable of spacing the floor and knocking down a three-point shot. He is certainly a more reliable spot-up shooter than Davis and that would add a new wrinkle to the Lakers’ offense.
Los Angeles has a potential package that could beat out the Spurs’ best package. It may not be enough, but LA could dangle Mo Bamba and some future second-round picks for Valanciunas. New Orleans would be getting younger and more athletic at the position while maintaining a rim-protecting and shot-making presence.
Darvin Ham simply did not seem to buy into Bamba during his short tenure with the Lakers and spinning him for one year of a known commodity in Valanciunas might be best for all parties. Even if the Pelicans just want cap space this works as Bamba is on a non-guaranteed deal.
San Antonio’s best reasonable offer is Zach Collins and some second-round picks and while Spurs fans would say otherwise, Bamba is probably the better asset. In Bamba’s last full season with the Magic, he averaged 10.6 points and 8.1 boards per game with a 38.1% three-point percentage.
This last season was Collins’ best year and he averaged 11.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and shot 37.4% from three. Even in Bamba’s down year, his PER was almost identical this past season.