The Los Angeles Lakers could be one of the more active teams ahead of the trade deadline after sitting in Play-In Tournament range after the first half of the 2023-24 season. If LA wants to be a serious contender once the playoffs roll around, now's the time to upgrade the roster.
Thanks to the Pascal Siakam trade, the Lakers can go after a reigning NBA Champion, but it won't come without its challenges.
One of the top names on the market is Bruce Brown, a player the Lakers pursued during 2023 free agency. Brown followed the money and signed a two-year, $45 million contract with the Pacers, who turned around and sent the guard/small forward to the Raptors months later. Toronto could decide to keep Brown past the deadline, but it'd be smarter for Masai Ujiri to trade him to a contender in the coming weeks.
On the most recent episode of the HoopsHype Podcast with Michael Scotto and Lakers beat writer Jovan Buha, the two discussed Brown. Buha said that the current Raptor is second on LA's trade list behind Dejounte Murray, while Scotto revealed the other teams he's heard that also have interest in the 27-year-old.
"Certainly, the Knicks because he’s Tom Thibodeau’s ideal type of player. By the way, you talked about the Lakers’ interest in Brown. The Knicks had Brown as their No. 1 free agent target ahead of Max Strus and other players. The other team I heard was the Dallas Mavericks. They also had considered going after him in free agency with the money they had available before they got Grant Williams."- Michael Scotto, HoopsHype Podcast
Knicks, Mavericks also interested in Lakers trade target Bruce Brown
Between the Knicks and Mavericks, it seems as if New York has the best shot at landing Brown. As Scotto noted, he's the definition of a Tom Thibodeau player. After the Knicks and Raptors played last weekend, Brown sent a message to New York's front office that he wants to be part of their organization.
NBA insider Marc Stein reported that Toronto is seeking a first-round pick and a valuable young player in exchange for Brown. The Knicks certainly have what it'd take to meet that price, and they'd still have enough left over to pursue the star they've been waiting on. As for the Mavericks, they have a 2027 first-round rick they could offer the Raptors, as well as Grant Williams and a young player like Josh Green to make salaries match.
Los Angeles has its 2029 first-round pick it could offer Toronto, but with the Lakers' assets already being thin, is that something the front office would be willing to do? The team is shopping D'Angelo Russell, but he shouldn't be of any interest to the Raptors unless he were rerouted elsewhere in a multi-team deal. The Lakers also have Jalen Hood-Schifino and Max Christie, two young players who could interest the Raptors.
Ultimately, as nice as it'd be to have a hard-nosed defender with championship experience like Brown, LA doesn't have the upper hand over a team like New York in trade talks. However, as fans know, anything can happen before the deadline, so don't count the possibility out!