Potential Lakers trade partner may have revealed itself ahead of 2024 NBA Draft

The Los Angeles Lakers will be aggressive in pursuing trades this summer. One potential trade partner may have revealed itself with the 2024 NBA Draft looming.
Detroit Pistons v Los Angeles Lakers
Detroit Pistons v Los Angeles Lakers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers will explore every option available to them in pursuit of a potential roster upgrade. With limited cap space, however, those options are more limited than general manager Rob Pelinka was likely hoping for.

As such, it should come as no surprise that Pelinka has spoken openly about his willingness to utilize draft capital in his attempts to improve the roster.

Speculation is running rampant as to Pelinka's willingness to part with at least one of the three future first-round draft picks that he has at his disposal. With the 2024 NBA Draft rapidly approaching, a potential trade partner may have presented itself if he's willing to do so.

According to Ian Begley of SNY, the Detroit Pistons have made it clear that they're willing to take on bad contracts from teams looking to shed salary this summer if draft compensation is included.

"But I wouldn’t be surprised if Detroit didn’t use all of its cap space to sign players. The Pistons have conveyed that they’re open to absorbing contracts from teams looking to shed salary. With more punitive team salary rules looming in 2024-25, I think the Pistons will have several opportunities to absorb a player’s salary in exchange for draft/player compensation."

The Lakers may not necessarily be looking to shed specific salaries this summer, but in the event that they would like to clear space, the Pistons are an option.

Los Angeles is unlikely to view Detroit as an ideal trade partner in a potential one-for-one scenario. It's looking to improve its roster more than it's attempting to simply shed salary, which makes Evan Fournier's team option of an expiring $19 million at least somewhat less attractive.

Isaiah Stewart is paid a reasonable $15 million per season and would complement Anthony Davis well, but it's fair to question if the Lakers would be open to a deal given his history with LeBron James.

What makes the Pistons an intriguing trade partner, however, is their potential inclusion in a three-team deal. The Lakers could bring them into the mix as a franchise that's willing to take back salary in exchange for draft compensation.

If Los Angeles finds an ideal trade target but can't necessarily afford to acquire them outright, Detroit could be brought in as the third team that helps the finances align.

Another option worth exploring would be a sign-and-trade for Simone Fontecchio. In 2023-24, Fontecchio averaged 10.5 points on 40.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Lakers, meanwhile, ranked 24th in three-point field goals made.

Regardless of which path is followed, with scarce options for roster improvement, identifying a team that could help the Lakers acquire a high-level talent via trade offers a sense of relief.

It may unlock an accessible avenue for acquiring players paid upwards of $20 million per season.