The perfect Lakers trade target that could lead to an NBA title may surprise you

2023 NBA Summer League - Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Hornets
2023 NBA Summer League - Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Hornets / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers undoubtedly have the foundation to make a run at the NBA Finals and win a championship this season. At their best, the Lakers are one of the most dangerous teams in the entire league.

But the Lakers are not always at their best. In the same month that the team dominated its way to the first NBA Cup in league history, Los Angeles also suffered its worst stretch of the season. The foundation is there but it needs to be built upon.

That obviously paves the way for the Lakers to be active during the NBA trade deadline. Whether it be a big move like Zach LaVine or smaller moves, the Lakers have the means to be active at the deadline this season.

There is a long list of potential trade targets that make a lot of sense for the purple and gold. However, there is one that truly sticks out above the rest and should be a priority for Pelinka and the front office this season.

Royce O'Neale is the perfect sleeper trade target for the Lakers

Royce O'Neale is not going to come in and suddenly be the third-best player on the Lakers but he could make a huge difference in the team's title chase. Players like O'Neale legitimately can swing playoff games (and this playoff series) and would elevate the ceiling of the Lakers.

O'Neale is exactly the kind of role player that the Lakers should be looking to add to the roster. He is a three-point marksman and an excellent point-of-attack defender who would significantly help the Lakers on the perimeter. If he continues to play like he is in Brooklyn, O'Neale would be a better version of 2020 Danny Green for the Lakers.

O'Neale is shooting 38.8% from three on a career-high 5.7 attempts per game. Over the last four seasons, O'Neale has shot 38.8% on 1,163 total threes attempted. There are 33 players in the NBA that have attempted 1,100 threes and have shot above 38%. Of those 33 players, O'Neale has the sixth-best defensive rating, right behind Paul George.

As far as this season is concerned, O'Neale is one of just nine players to have made at least 60 threes with a Defensive Box Plus/Minus above 1.0 (O'Neale has a 1.4 DBPM). Only three of those players have a better DBPM than O'Neale (LeBron James, Derrick White and Mike Conley).

O'Neale is on an expiring contract worth $9.5 million. He shouldn't cost very much as an expiring player and his contract is certainly obtainable for the Lakers. A package of Taurean Prince and Jalen Hood-Schifino would likely be enough. If not, it would take one or two second-round picks to send the offer over the edge for Brooklyn.

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