4 Trades the Lakers can make to upgrade roster after LeBron gobbled up the money

The Los Angeles Lakers are in a tight financial situation but still need to upgrade the roster. What trades can they make after LeBron James took the max?
DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls and Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls and Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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Trade No. 2: Bruce Brown + Kelly Olynyk

LeBron James has a long history of excelling when he is playing next to a stretch big. From Chris Bosh to Channing Frye to the version of Anthony Davis who played in the 2020 playoffs and suddenly had a jumpshot, LeBron loves a pick-and-pop big man.

In addition, the Lakers are a bit light on players who can adequately guard opposing guards. Austin Reaves competes but he isn't a lockdown option, and D'Angelo Russell isn't stopping anyone. Vanderbilt is a solid option, but he can't defend everyone and his lack of shooting is limiting in the postseason.

The Toronto Raptors are a team with tradable players who fit both of those needs. If the Lakers wanted to go the route of adding two strong contributors instead of a single more expensive, star-level player, the Raptors could be an option to work something out.

Here is one such trade configuration:

Raptors Lakers Olynyk Brown

The Raptors have to take on the salaries of Rui Hachimura and Gabe Vincent, but both are players who could potentially help them. Taurean Prince is an excellent addition as a veteran forward they can add and then flip to a contender at the deadline; he signs a two-year, $20 million deal here with a team option on the second season. The Raptors pick up the valuable 2029 first and a swap in 2030 for sending out Brown and Olynyk.

The Lakers get a proven veteran wing who can handle the ball, defend and rebound from multiple positions. They also get Olynyk, that stretch big who can play with only LeBron or even between LeBron and Anthony Davis. It's expensive, but it doesn't completely drain the coffers and makes the Lakers' overall rotation much stronger.