Trade for the Lakers' #7 Pick

First, this table may be helpful and enlightening for conversation & argument sake. I ordered the teams by how many draft picks they have, the corresponding picks, and what each team's current payroll is for the 2014/15 season according to (fyi: the projected salary cap is about $63 million):



The Los Angeles Lakers have 3, maybe 5 players under contract for next season as of right now, and they only have 1 draft pick. The Lakers have a lot of cap space ($27 million?), but even if they got their one rookie salary, it would still be somewhat difficult to sign the rest of the team within the luxury tax (They're already at $36 million with like only 3-4 players on the team). Currently, the 76er have the most draft picks (7!).However, other than their 7th pick, I imagine the Lakers don't have much they're willing to trade that Philly would want (I don't think Philly wants a bad contract in Nash). So, the 76ers have the 3rd and 10th pick already. If they were able to secure the Lakers' 7th pick, Philly would be set (in theory, I mean, it would be hard to totally botch this rebuilding phase with such draft picks unless the management is mismanaged or otherwise bad). Since the 76ers have 2 first round picks and 5 second round picks, Philly could try giving one late second rounder and their 10th for the Lakers' 7th, or Philly might even try giving all 2nd round picks (and Thaddeus Young??) to the Lakers for their 7th round pick. The Lakers can still do damage in free agency, but not if they have to sign 9-10 free agents. And to be honest, I'm not even sure what LA's intentions are in the future. I don't know if they're going to do another tank season to increase their rebuild or if they want to re-sign a bunch of all-star with a few role players in between.

Here is Philly's payroll:



Here is the Lakers' payroll:



Minnesota Timberwolves

Minny (Minnesota) recently hired Flip Saunders, who basically called out Kevin Love. I'm sure Love is really feeling the love now. He already had indicated he wanted out and on a championship contending team (not that the Lakers are even in the realm of that possibility right now). I could understand why though. He's hitting his prime right now and wants to make sure he has the hardware to show for his abilities and potential as one of the greatest of all time, which I think he could be. If the Lakers re-signed Gasol, Love could fit in nicely. However, he's going to take a huge chunk of their payroll, so the Lakers are still back at square one trying to sign 8-9 players, where rookie contracts in a deep draft may be the way to go (Kobe & Nash take up $32 million together for next year). Also, Minnesota is going to have to get something substantial, and I don't think a sign-and-trade of Gasol for Love would suffice. Maybe Gasol and their 7th pick, but I'm not even sure that would do it. I'm not a guru on the Lakers' assets, so maybe someone else (a certain Peter J. Novak, perhaps?) could shine some light on their potential in the off-season market of acquiring players and building teams.



Phoenix Suns

What about Phoenix? Eric Bledsoe is a restricted free agent, like Hayward, so the Lakers' wouldn't be able to get the draft picks for Bledsoe until after the draft, and then they'd have to take whoever Phoenix picked. Bledsoe (or any high caliber player) would be great for the Lakers, especially with Nash fading out of existence. The Suns have picks 14, 18, 27, and 50, so there is some potential for adding rotation players and depth. Phoenix is actually a very interesting option since they also have 6 players entering the last year of their contracts (including Gerald Green, Channing Frye, Morris brothers, Dionte Christmas, and Shavlik Randolph. So Phoenix could potentially pair some players (Gerald Green, Channing Frye) with some draft picks (27, 50) for the Lakers' 7th pick. Lots of options here.



Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks don't have as much cap space available currently, with Brandon Knight, Ishmael Smith, and Khris Middleton as the only playrs entering contract years. Ersan Ilyasova ($7.9 million next 2 years, then $8.4 million) could be an attractive acquisition, but he'd be eating a huge percentage of LA's available cap space, and may not be worth it. However, the Bucks hold the 31st, 36th, and 48th picks in the draft. The Bucks also have some cheap but somewhat serviceable aspects (depending on if LA's planning on rebuilding or not) in John Henson, Carlos Delfino, and Zaza Pachilia. Even O.J. Mayo might be a tempting acquisition to combo with Kobe in the backcourt. I could see each or all of those players being valuable assets in trade negotiations. Those could be valuable pieces to an empty LA squad looking to save some money, especially if they can squeeze a deal maybe with Ilyasova and Nick Young as parts of the trade.



Utah Jazz

Enter Utah. Still in need of trying to fill their team with manageable, worth-while contracts (the Lakers), the picks in a deep draft like this years are worth a second and third look. In addition to having the 23rd and 35th picks, Utah also has interesting trading pieces in Enes Kanter and Alec Burks, who are entering their last years of their current contracts. Kanter seems like he would love L.A. a little too much, or maybe it would be the other way around. Either way, Kanter could fit in nicely in the Lakers' empty front court, and be very tempted to re-sign after his contract is up. Burks plays the same position as Kobe, and Burks is at the stage of his development where he needs to be starting. I don't see that being the case in L.A. if they're planning on Kobe being healthy, but he could be a helluva 6th man. The Lakers need to fill out their starting squad before they start thinking about 6th man anyway, I feel. Hey- what about Ante Tomic?? He's a big man at the top of the professional level in Europe who could help fill out the Lakers' front court, Pao Gaol or not, and the Lakers are just the kind of team Tomic would probably go for in order to get the attention and pay he would want to make taking his game overseas worthwhile. Utah is also harboring a ready-to-blossom point guard in Raul Neto, who could also be an intricate trade piece (even though I'd rather see him backing up Burke next season as well as playing on their summer league team if possible). Suddenly, Utah has some interesting offers for the Lakers (as crazy and unintuitive as it seems given our hatred for the fakers). So here it is:



Lakers trade: 7th pick

Utah trades: rights to Ante Tomic, 23rd pick, 35th pick ( & Neto &/or Kanter ?? {i really, really prefer not})

With the Laker's 7th pick, Utah would then be holding the 5th and 7th picks, and could go with some really valuable combinations (Aaron Gordon & Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon & Noah Vonleh, etc.). With the hiring of Quin Snyder, an extremely knowledgeable and cerebral coach with a strength in player development, he may be the best coach for getting the best out of Marcus Smart in this league. A coach who's been around the NBA as well as college and NBADL all within the last decade, and had success with each as well as great praise for his efforts and successes. This could heighten Lindsay's wizardry to unprecedented levels. If Utah were to go with Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart, here's what Utah could be looking at before free agency:

Trey Burke / Alec Burks / Gordon Hayward / Enes Kanter / Derrick Favors

Diante Garrett / Marcus Smart / Aaron Gordon / Jeremy Evans / Rudy Gobert

Smart and Gordon's defense in/on the backcourt / perimeter and athleticism are exactly the shot of defensive adrenaline Utah could use to put this rebuild into 2nd gear, and I believe Snyder knows how best to put those talents to task. (FYI, the players listed above probably wouldn't even get the franchise to the minimum cap for team payrolls, or at least, they'd still have a lot of substantial cap space left). Evan Turner and Elton Brand could be great pieces to add to this young team, where Turner has multiple player development experiences with Snyder, and Brand has been coached by Snyder 3 times in his career. As Amar first stated, Brand could be a useful mentor to the many young bigs on Utah's team. Especially if Utah were to go with Vonleh instead of Smart. You didn't think I'd think anyone would take Vonleh over Gordon, did you? So really, Utah could look like this in a couple years:

Trey Burke / Gordon Hayward / Evan Turner / Enes Kanter / Derrick Favors

Marcus Smart / Alec Burks / Aardon Gordon / Jeremy Evans / Rudy Gobert / Elton Brand

I think Utah would still be under cap. And super defensively equipped. So, to recap:

Tomic, 23rd pick, 35th pick (& Neto & / or Kanter & / or future picks or some combination of those)


LAL's 7th pick (which could be a Noah Vonleh, Marcus Smart, etc.)

I think it's do-able. Lindsay could make one of the biggest trade deals this draft and come out huge.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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