5. Larry Nance Jr.
The Lakers drafted Nance Jr. 27th overall in 2015, and he spent his first year learning from Kobe Bryant in the legend's final NBA campaign. Nance Jr. spent two and a half seasons in Los Angeles before being traded to the Cavaliers for Isaiah Thomas. The 6’8 big man has struggled to stay healthy throughout his NBA career, but he is a versatile bench option who can make an impact on both ends of the floor.
The Pelicans are firmly in the playoff race and just traded Kira Lewis Jr. to dip under the luxury tax line. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have been healthy. The Western Conference is loaded, and New Orleans may look to make more moves to improve their roster. They do not want to pay the luxury tax, but they have Jonas Valanciunas’ expiring salary plus Nance Jr. making $10.3 million this season.
Larry Nance Jr. is playing a career-low minutes per game, but his advanced metrics are up. He could be a key bench piece for a contender, and the Pelicans could be eager to upgrade their roster.
Verdict: Nance Jr. would improve the Lakers' depth and versatility. They do not want to trade a key piece to New Orleans, especially with the Pelicans controlling their draft pick from the Anthony Davis deal. Could the two sides convince a third team to take part in a deal? That may be the easiest path to getting something done.
Los Angeles would have to limit the 31-year-old to 25 minutes per game, and that could keep Rob Pelinka and the front office from seriously engaging in negotiations with the Pelicans.