The Los Angeles Lakers look to be in full tank mode at this point in the season. They have started playing their young players in larger roles and look to be building towards the future.
Three weeks ago, I wrote an article detailing what the Los Angeles Lakers might do at the deadline here. Today, we will revisit those players and examine what if anything the Lakers can make happen before February 23rd at 3 pm Eastern (otherwise known as the NBA trade deadline).
Lou Williams - SG
Since my last writing, Lou Williams has been on fire. In those six games, Williams is averaging 21.8 points, 2.7 three-pointers made, 1.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game in only 22.9 minutes a night. You read that right, Williams is averaging just under a point a minute in those six games. He is, also, shooting 49.3% from the field and 91.1% from the free throw line. It has been a great run that exemplifies what Williams can accomplish on the court.
According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.com, the Lakers are shopping Lou Williams, so let us look at what value he could provide.
At 30-years-old, Williams is not a player who is going to change his spots, so teams know what they are buying. Williams is proven scorer and three-point maker who is best suited for 24-28 minutes a night, the prototypical 6th man if you will. That holds great value to a contending team looking for that boost to get them over the hump.
As I mentioned in the last piece, Williams is also on a team friendly contract and has the reputation of being a good locker room presence only strengthening his trade value.
Potential Landing Spots
According to Ian Begley, the Lakers are looking for a 1st round pick in exchange for Lou Williams. That limits the market a little bit because of a new rule that only allows teams to trade their 1st round pick every other season. Namely, the Cleveland Cavaliers could not trade the Lakers a 1st round pick until 2021 making that deal very unlikely to happen.
The Utah Jazz are reportedly interested in Lou Williams. Utah is pushing for home court in a playoff series and could use a scoring guard off their bench. It seems like a hand and glove fit, but will the Jazz be willing to part with the pick? I think Utah only makes the move if they believe they are a legitimate contender this season.
Another reportedly interested team in Mister Williams’ services is the Washington Wizards. Washington is currently the third seed in the Eastern Conference and yet incredibly thin behind John Wall and Bradley Beal at the guard position. If I was the General Manager of the Wizards (and spoiler alert: I am not), I would meet the asking price and make the move for Williams before someone else does because he could be the missing piece in their deep playoff run.
Be on the lookout for a surprise to come up on the outside and make a play for Sweet Lou. A good percentage of trades happen without any rumors flying around before the fact, so a team could easily swoop in and make the move.
Regardless if it is the Jazz, Wizards, or a mystery team, I expect Lou Williams to be wearing a different uniform after the trade deadline passes on Thursday.
Nick Young - SG/SF
Nick Young is a curious case for the Lakers this season. Believed by many to not even be part of the opening day roster, Young did nothing but impress in training camp and preseason to not only make the team but becoming the starting shooting guard. Now, the Lakers announce they are going younger with their minutes and starting lineup, but 31-year-old Nick Young continues to start and play meaningful minutes.
Credit to Young, he has been great this season. He has improved his defense to an acceptable level and is one of the NBA’s best three-point shooters this season sinking 41.3% from downtown.
Now is the time to cash in the Nick Young stock. He looked to be completely out of town heading into the season and now he is a starter and playing great. At his age, how long can it last? 31 years on earth is not old by any stretch, but clearly, he is not going to continue to improve much longer if at all.
The only remaining question, is there any market? The Lakers reportedly tried to trade Young this offseason and got zero offers. Now Swaggy P was coming off a down season on and off the court, but the contract is team friendly. Has the market grown during this return to form season for Nick Young?
Potential Landing Spots
Other than multiple sites reporting the Lakers are dangling Nick Young, no concrete reports linking him to other teams are readily accessible. That could be a point in proving the market for Nick Young is limited at best.
The Washington Wizards should be interested as they could use a scoring guard off their bench and Nick Young fits that bill. I doubt the Wizards would give a 1st round pick in this deal, but the Lakers could secure a young asset or some 2nd round picks and open the minutes for players of their future like D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. That would not be a bad idea for Los Angeles.
Luol Deng - SF
Luol Deng has been a causality of the Lakers going younger with their starting lineup and minutes. Since my last trade rumors piece, Deng has played 23 minutes a game and none of the statistics are pretty. He lost his starting job to rookie Brandon Ingram and clearly, it has affected his minutes and statistical production.
Deng is a player who always has value. He is going to play good defense and make solid basketball plays regardless of his minutes or statistical production. By all accounts, the Lakers acquired him to be a veteran leader on this young team and I am sure he flourished in that role.</p>As I mentioned last time out, the contract is a big detriment to his trade value. The Lakers simply overpaid for a player who seems to be on the back nine of his career at age 31.
Potential Landing Spots
Despite the exorbitant contract, Deng has been linked to two teams in recent days. The Minnesota Timberwolves have reportedly expressed interest in Deng. That would reunite Deng with his longtime coach Tom Thibodeau.
The other reported team was the Sacramento Kings, but given their recent trade of DeMarcus Cousins, I doubt they acquire a veteran at this time.
I believe Deng will be in Purple and Gold after Thursday’s deadline because the contract will just be too pricey for a contender to acquire.
Timofey Mozgov - C
Maybe it was my article, but something caused Timofey Mozgov to hit the skids in recent weeks. The Moz has played just 26 minutes total in the last 6 games and just 11 minutes in the last 5. He was completely dropped from the rotation when the Lakers went younger.
The Lakers will dangle Mozgov out there, but they will not find any takers. The experts were right on this one as the contract looks like a huge mistake by the Lakers Management.
There you have it, an update on what the Lakers might do at Thursday’s trade deadline. It should be an action-packed day for NBA fans and I expect the Lakers make a move or two so be ready for that.
The story I am interested to see play out is what role Magic Johnson plays leading up to the deadline. He was hired as advisor recently, but is reportedly seeking a larger role with the team. I believe it would be a welcomed sign to have Magic Johnson in a Larry Bird type role with the Lakers.