The Los Angeles Lakers have firmly planted themselves in the middle of the championship discussion through the first quarter of the 2019-20 NBA season with a 23-3 record.
However, even with the Lakers ahead of schedule, there is always room for improvement and Dec. 15 is an important date for them and the rest of the league because most players who signed in 2019 NBA free agency are now eligible to be traded. Los Angeles is fortunate enough to be in the position they are currently in, but there are still some holes on the roster that can be addressed via a trade market that looks to be comprised of buyers rather than sellers.
Despite that, here are trade ideas that could bolster the Lakers and improve their chances of winning it all:
Caldwell-Pope has rebounded from a rough shooting start to the season and has emerged as one of team’s most reliable deep threats on the roster since filling in for Avery Bradley in the starting lineup. However, it remains to be seen how much longer he can sustain his hot shooting from the field and Los Angeles can look to sell high on him in exchange for one of the league’s premier deep threats.
Redick — who signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the New Orleans Pelicans — has voiced his desire to play in the playoffs, but will likely be watching from home at this rate given their struggles. The Pelicans are all-in on their rebuild and Redick’s talents as a sharpshooter would mesh well playing next to Davis and James in five-out lineups. For New Orleans, they add to their treasure chest of future Los Angeles draft picks in the process. However, due to the nature of Caldwell-Pope’s contract, he has a de facto no-trade clause, so he would need to approve any deal.
Again, Caldwell-Pope would have the option to veto a deal, but his $8 million salary combined with Troy Daniels roughly amounts to how much Robert Covington makes this season. Covington would dramatically improve the Lakers defense as he is able to check bigger wings along the perimeter — something only Davis, James, and Danny Green are currently able to do. He is also shooting close to 36 percent from the three-point line this season which would add yet another shooting threat for James to utilize.
However, it remains to be seen whether or not the Minnesota Timberwolves would be willing to part with him given they are still fighting to make the playoffs. As tempting as an unprotected first from the Lakers is, they could look to sit tight and try to end their playoff drought.
This one would likely cause a riot in Los Angeles as Kyle Kuzma has endeared himself to Lakers fans but so far, he has struggled to stay on the floor due to injuries. While he has flashed his offensive prowess in a few games this season, he has also looked tentative in the offense as he learns to play next to Davis and James. Meanwhile, Bogdanovic is quietly having another solid season for the Sacramento Kings as he is averaging 14.3 points and 3.9 assists in only 27.6 minutes of action right now.
Although Bogdanovic is set to become a restricted free agent, his blend of shot-making and passing would help grease the team’s offense when James heads to the bench. Rajon Rondo has played well so far but he is not the same pick-and-roll scoring threat that Bogdanovic is. Trades between division rivals are rare, but the Kings could be intrigued with adding another talented scoring forward.