5 Under-the-radar Lakers trade targets who can make an immediate impact

The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to a number of big-name trade candidates this summer, but what about the options who are flying under the radar?
Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Lakers
Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Lakers / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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The NBA Playoffs are still ongoing, yet the Los Angeles Lakers have already been linked to several of the top potential trade candidates in 2024. It's something that Lakers fans have grown accustomed to, as anyone who could be traded is typically listed as a candidate to end up in the purple and gold.

While the likes of Donovan Mitchell and Trae Young have been referenced as examples of All-Stars who could make the move to Los Angeles, the Lakers shouldn't limit themselves to the most obvious of options.

That, of course, is not to say that Mitchell and Young should be written off as potential acquisitions this summer. Instead, the Lakers should simply evaluate the full scope of options that are available to them and proceed accordingly in finding a potential fit.

That could ultimately mean adding an All-Star alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James, but it could also take the franchise down the path of adding depth by acquiring quality role players.

The process could even include a reunion with one of the most beloved former Lakers of the past five seasons.

1. Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have entered every offseason in recent memory in basketball limbo. There are three high-level offensive veterans on the roster in DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic, as well as a high-ceiling forward in Patrick Williams, a breakout performer in Coby White, and a productive-when-healthy Lonzo Ball.

Despite the talent that Chicago possesses, however, it has reached the Playoffs just twice since 2015. As such, it may be worth seeing if the Los Angeles Lakers can coordinate a reunion with defensive specialist Alex Caruso.

Caruso is entering the final season of the four-year, $36.98 million contract he signed with the Bulls in 2021. As Chicago potentially loses DeRozan to free agency, all the while awaiting injury updates on Ball and LaVine, it’s possible that the franchise could finally hit the reset button.

If that proves to be the case, then draft compensation and a role player of similar value could be enough for the Lakers to reunite with a player whom many fans didn’t want to see leave in the first place.

Caruso, 30, has become one of the standards for the label of 3-and-D. In addition to being one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, he boasts a career mark of 38.0 percent from beyond the arc and has even developed into a high-level shot-blocker.

Caruso finished the 2023-24 regular season with averages of 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.0 block, and 1.9 three-point field goals made on 40.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Parting with draft capital would be a tough sell as the Lakers look to swing for the fences and acquire a star-caliber player. This would be a different path to follow, however, as Los Angeles could instead look to shore up the roster it has in place by bringing in a proven commodity to improve the defense.

The franchise would need to add more than Caruso to make this roster a contender again, but it would be a great first step towards playing winning basketball again.