5 Unpopular trades the Lakers should explore this summer

The Lakers should take a hard look at these trades in the offseason.
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James, Austin Reaves
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James, Austin Reaves / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Lakers are not where they want to be. LeBron James and the franchise want to compete for championships, but they are ninth in the Western Conference and will likely need to win two straight games in the feared Play-In Tournament just to be the eighth seed. Even if they qualify, predicting a deep playoff run seems unwise coming out of the one versus eight match-up.

The Lakers must improve their roster this summer if they want to get back into contention. They can no longer rely on LeBron to lift them. LA needs more talent and depth. Expect the Lakers to add in free agency, but it won’t be enough. Rob Pelinka and the front office must upgrade via trade too.

It won’t be easy. The Lakers are projected to be in the tax and must decide who is expendable. Most of their current players helped them reach the conference finals in 2023. Dumping them will be difficult, but LA must explore these unpopular moves if they want to hang another banner anytime soon.

5. Sent D-Lo to the highest bidder

D’Angelo Russell has been a pleasant surprise for the Lakers this season. They re-signed him to a team-friendly two-year $36 million contract in the offseason, which most believed would make him trade fodder before the deadline. He was too good, and the franchise could not afford to let him go.

Russell is shooting a career-high 42.4 percent from 3-point range and having arguably his best season since being an All-Star in 2019. D-Lo is known to be streaky, so is this a hot stretch or a true breakout?

D’Angelo Russell has an $18.6 million player option for the 2024-25 campaign. Even if he decides to decline it and test free agency, the Lakers should try to sign-and-trade him. Los Angeles must get something in return. Losing Russell after a fantastic season is not ideal, but the Lakers may be able to upgrade their roster and consistency in a trade.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been driven by star power for years and may try to add another standout to their roster.