The Los Angeles Lakers were fortunate enough to keep their top-three protected pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. With another added asset to their collection, more and more rumors are going to begin swirling around the team.
That started immediately after the lottery as Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated reports that multiple NBA teams are “evaluating trade packages” for Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell.
There’s a lot of ways to look at this. First, the Lakers are in prime position to draft a point guard with the second overall pick as Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are the presumptive favorites to be taken that high. That could theoretically make Russell expendable although no team has ever had too many playmakers.
The other major point of view is this: the Lakers have made it clear they’re interested in Paul George and that feeling seems to be mutual. If they want to speed up the process and get George quickly, it can behoove them to try to increase the value of their prospects to interest the Pacers in a swap.
Of course, everything Lakers president of basketball Magic Johnson has said thus far publicly points to the Lakers remaining patient with their own players. He admitted after the lottery that they don’t expect to be major players in free agency this summer; that makes it difficult to believe that they’d move on from their current best young player so soon.
Nevertheless, it’s worth keeping an eye on these rumors, even if we’ll be hearing plenty more before the next season starts.