Grade the Trade: Lakers land Suns superstar in sizzling blockbuster pitch

The Los Angeles Lakers could trade for Kevin Durant and make one last push for a title with LeBron James
Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns / Sean Gardner/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Lakers came into the season with their sights set on contending in the Western Conference, but despite healthy seasons from LeBron James and Anthony Davis they wallowed in the Play-In race for most of the year and finished as just the eighth seed in the West, losing in five games to the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

The scapegoat for that early exit has already been found, with head coach Darvin Ham fired just days after the end of their season. Hiring a different head coach may help, but it won't be enough to drastically change the outlook for the Lakers if they do not also make changes to the roster. Heading into the offseason armed with as many as three first-round picks and a variety of players to include in trades, how could the Lakers upgrade the roster significantly enough to change their fate?

The Lakers could look to the Suns for a trade partner

Down Interstate 10 from the Lakers, the Phoenix Suns also entered the season with high hopes, having built the latest super team and expecting to ride an elite offense deep into the playoffs. Unsurprisingly, however, Bradley Beal battled injuries all season, Kevin Durant took a small step back at 35 years old and the role players weren't enough. The Suns finished just sixth and were ignominiously swept in the first round by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Where the Lakers have assets this summer, the Suns have nothing. They used their draft capital to add Durant and Beal and are miles above the second tax apron. They will likely need to run this group back, but Durant could look around and decide he can't realistically contend with that roster. Asking out is not a new thing for him, and the Suns may actually welcome it to shake free of their current prison.

If Durant were to be available for trade, and especially if he tries to direct his own path, could the Los Angeles Lakers put together a fair trade offer for him? Should they? Let's look at the details and then grade the proposed trade for the Lakers.