The NBA trade deadline is right around the corner and as a result there are plenty of NBA trade rumors that are picking up steam. As the most prolific team in the league that certainly needs some upgrades, the Los Angeles Lakers have become a prominent team in these discussions.
The plot thickened around the Lakers on Thursday as it was reported that Dejounte Murray is emerging as the most likely star-caliber player to be traded, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. As they were in the past, the Lakers were named as a potential suitor for Murray.
That is not the only big rumor that the Hawks are involved in, though. Atlanta is also considered one of the top landing spots for Toronto's Pascal Siakam. With both Murray and Siakam on the block, the most logical thing might be to swap the two all-stars.
But with Scottie Barnes in Toronto, it may not make sense for the Raptors to add Murray to the mix. If Toronto instead wants to add more draft capital, it could create a situation where a third team is involved to take on Murray and send assets in return. That is where the Lakers could come into play.
Lakers capitalize on Dejounte Murray and Pascal Siakam trade rumors with this package:
There are a lot of moving pieces in this trade but it could accomplish everything that each party wants to accomplish (assuming Toronto doesn't want Murray). If Toronto likes Murray enough it could just ask for Murray and Hunter straight up for Siakam. The money lines up nearly perfect.
If that is not a possibility then this would be a good way for Toronto to get the most value out of Siakam. Not only would Toronto be getting a pick in 2024 via the Hawks, but by looping the Lakers in they would also be getting a potentially valuable future first. Who knows what state the Lakers are in when 2029 rolls around.
As talented as Siakam is, the ceiling of his trade value is probably two first-round picks. He is on an expiring contract and four-month rentals typically don't go for very much on the trade market compared to what they would go for as one-year rentals.
D'Angelo Russell is not a long-term fit as he has a player option after this season anyway. He would either opt-out or be someone the Raptors can flip in the summer. Hunter and Hood-Schifino are two promising young players that the Raptors can develop to go with the draft capital.
Atlanta gets someone who may fit much better next to Trae Young in Siakam along with a depth piece in Christie to replace the Hunter minutes. This trade might be possible without that 2028 pick swap but with Atlanta giving up Hunter and a 2024 first, the team can likely convince the Lakers to swap those picks.
And as for the Lakers, the team would be getting a guard who has proven he can be one of the best two-way players in the sport for a great price. Some expendable assets with one pick and one pick swap is a great price for a player of Murray's caliber, especially considering the contract he is on.
There might be some tough overlap between Murray and LeBron James with both players being ball-dominant playmakers. It is naturally going to be much easier to adapt to playing next to LeBron than it has been for Young, which is a plus for Murray. In addition to that, the Lakers do desperately need a secondary ball-handler that they trust and Murray can be that guy.
If the Lakers were trading for Murray straight up they would probably have to send two pick swaps and a first-rounder at minimum. Even then it might not be enough. By doing this, they can make sure the Hawks are happy and get someone who can increase the title odds now while also building toward the future.