The Los Angeles Lakers have proven early in the 2023-24 season that they should be taken seriously as a true title contender. Los Angeles has endured one of the hardest strengths of schedule early in the season and still has a winning record. Add in the NBA Cup that the team just won on Saturday and there is a case to be made that the Lakers are the most impressive team early on in the season.
As impressive as the Lakers have been, it is not a perfect basketball team. Like every other title contender in the league, the Lakers should be keeping an eye on the market to potentially make any improvements via trade.
It can be a big trade, like the Russell Westbrook trade last season, or it can be a trade on a smaller scale. Either way, there will be ways to improve the roster and if the price is right then Rob Pelinka shouldn't hesitate to make a move.
One potential way to improve the roster is emerging thanks to the Lakers' cross-hall rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers. In what is an incredibly predictable development, veteran P.J. Tucker is already growing frustrated with his decreased role after being traded to the Clippers alongside James Harden, per NBA insider Shams Charania.
P.J. Tucker would make sense as a Lakers trade target
P.J. Tucker would make a lot of sense in the purple and gold, so long that the Clippers were willing to actually do business with their big brothers in Los Angeles. The Lakers and Clippers have done business together before (see: Ivica Zubac trade) but that was before the Lakers were also contending alongside the Clippers.
Tucker is not the same role player that he was several years ago and the Lakers would have to temper their expectations. However, he is still a valuable wing asset that can defend at the point of attack while also being able to provide serviceable off-ball shot-making.
At $11 million, the Lakers could trade for Tucker in one of two ways. If Gabe Vincent is not playing well after his return to the rotation then the Lakers could try to flip one problem for another: trading Vincent and his two years remaining for Tucker and his one year remaining (likely alongside a second-round pick or two).
If that is not something the Clippers are interested in, it could be a classic three-for-one salary dump that allows the Clippers to simply get off the money. The Lakers could pair Taurean Prince with one or two other smaller salaries to save the Clippers money and give them some depth to take a chance on.
Regardless, the price for Tucker shouldn't be very high and the Lakers have enough assets to be competitive in the market. Tucker has struggled since joining the Clippers, sure, but he was playing well before the trade and played well last season for Philly.
Plus, we all know the situation is better on the Lakers than it is on the Clippers, so fans would be able to expect a rejuvenated Tucker who can add veteran experience to the bench.
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