Lakers Trade Deadline Rumors: Interest In Raptors’ Bruce Brown

Originally published by LakersNation.com

The Toronto Raptors have been the most active team of the 2023-24 trade season. With several weeks to go until the trade deadline, they have dealt OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks and Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers. In return for the latter trade, they landed Bruce Brown, a player the Los Angeles Lakers were dead-set on acquiring this past offseason.

The Lakers reportedly looked like the prime landing spot for Brown in the offseason until the Pacers came in and offered him a two-year, $45 million contract with a team option on the second season. Brown couldn’t refuse the cap space offer, and the Lakers turned to their Plan B in Gabe Vincent. Now that Brown has moved from the Pacers to the Raptors though, questions have already begun piling up about his availability.

The Raptors have not yet made it known what their plans are with the recently-acquired guard. But one thing is reportedly certain: if Brown is available to acquire via another trade, the Lakers could be at the front of the line to land him, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic:

If the Toronto Raptors decide to move on from Bruce Brown Jr., the Lakers will have interest in acquiring him, according to team sources. The Lakers coveted Brown last summer and believed they were the favorites to sign him using the team’s nontaxpayer midlevel exception before Indiana swooped in with a cap-space offer. (Los Angeles eventually signed Vincent with that exception.) Much like he was last summer, Brown will become one of the most coveted players on the trade market if he’s available. Of note: Because Brown was already traded from Indiana to Toronto in the Siakam deal, he cannot be combined with another player in a potential trade.

Brown would still be a remarkable fit on the Lakers given his defensive prowess and solid shooting that would figure to get a bump next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. And since he cannot be combined with another player in the deal, it becomes a much more straightforward negotiation.

The tricky part is Brown’s $22 million salary for 2023-24. The Lakers — as a team at the first apron and below the second apron — would need to salary match within 125%, meaning Brown cannot make more than 125% of whatever the Lakers send out in the deal.

L.A. needs to send out at least $17.6 million in order to legally acquire Brown’s contract. They have no one outside of James and Davis making that much on their own, meaning it needs to be a multi-player deal. D’Angelo Russell is the closest at $17.3 million, so him and any other salary works. But that requires the Raptors having interest in Russell or significant draft compensation.

The Lakers have ways of making a deal with the Raptors work, but if Brown is as highly coveted as reported, the question becomes if their best is good enough.

Lakers have no interest in trading Austin Reaves

With Austin Reaves making $12 million this season, the Lakers could combine him with Gabe Vincent or multiple smaller salaries to cross the threshold into affording Brown’s salary. The Raptors would certainly have interest in a player of Reaves’ caliber. However, the Lakers have made it known that they have no interest in trading the third-year guard.

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The Toronto Raptors have been the most active team of the 2023-24 trade season. With several weeks to go until the trade deadline, they have dealt OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks and Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers. In return for the latter trade, they landed Bruce Brown, a player the Los Angeles Lakers were dead-set on acquiring this past offseason.

The Lakers reportedly looked like the prime landing spot for Brown in the offseason until the Pacers came in and offered him a two-year, $45 million contract with a team option on the second season. Brown couldn’t refuse the cap space offer, and the Lakers turned to their Plan B in Gabe Vincent. Now that Brown has moved from the Pacers to the Raptors though, questions have already begun piling up about his availability.

The Raptors have not yet made it known what their plans are with the recently-acquired guard. But one thing is reportedly certain: if Brown is available to acquire via another trade, the Lakers could be at the front of the line to land him, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic:

If the Toronto Raptors decide to move on from Bruce Brown Jr., the Lakers will have interest in acquiring him, according to team sources. The Lakers coveted Brown last summer and believed they were the favorites to sign him using the team’s nontaxpayer midlevel exception before Indiana swooped in with a cap-space offer. (Los Angeles eventually signed Vincent with that exception.) Much like he was last summer, Brown will become one of the most coveted players on the trade market if he’s available. Of note: Because Brown was already traded from Indiana to Toronto in the Siakam deal, he cannot be combined with another player in a potential trade.

Brown would still be a remarkable fit on the Lakers given his defensive prowess and solid shooting that would figure to get a bump next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. And since he cannot be combined with another player in the deal, it becomes a much more straightforward negotiation.

The tricky part is Brown’s $22 million salary for 2023-24. The Lakers — as a team at the first apron and below the second apron — would need to salary match within 125%, meaning Brown cannot make more than 125% of whatever the Lakers send out in the deal.

L.A. needs to send out at least $17.6 million in order to legally acquire Brown’s contract. They have no one outside of James and Davis making that much on their own, meaning it needs to be a multi-player deal. D’Angelo Russell is the closest at $17.3 million, so him and any other salary works. But that requires the Raptors having interest in Russell or significant draft compensation.

The Lakers have ways of making a deal with the Raptors work, but if Brown is as highly coveted as reported, the question becomes if their best is good enough.

Lakers have no interest in trading Austin Reaves

With Austin Reaves making $12 million this season, the Lakers could combine him with Gabe Vincent or multiple smaller salaries to cross the threshold into affording Brown’s salary. The Raptors would certainly have interest in a player of Reaves’ caliber. However, the Lakers have made it known that they have no interest in trading the third-year guard.

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