Should The Lakers Pursue The Derozan/Vucevic Trade?
The Los Angeles Lakers' big three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook did not work out in year one. This season, they have shown potential with excellent play of late led by Davis.
While Westbrook has played at a high level in his 6th man role, there could be a potential avenue to make a move for a different star. The Bulls have started the season 10-14, and with a tough Eastern Conference, they could be sellers.
The Lakers have had “internal discussions” on a trade that would send Russell Westbrook and two 1st-round picks to Chicago for DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic.— BullsMuse (@BullsMuse_) December 2, 2022
DeMar DeRozan was a star that the Lakers almost acquired to pair with LeBron and AD before pivoting to Westbrook. If DeRozan becomes available, LA could have a significant interest in trading for him.
DeRozan is averaging 25/4/4. He is shooting 50.3% from the field and 30.3% from 3.
Nikola Vucevic has also been mentioned as an option in a Bulls-Lakers trade. Vucevic is having a solid season, averaging 16 PTS and 11 REB while shooting 48.5% and 35.8% from downtown.
Bill Simmons’ trade idea:— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) December 1, 2022
Lakers receive: DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic
Bulls receive: Russell Westbrook, 2027 first-round pick(unprotected), 2029 first-round pick(top-five protected)
(Via The Bill Simmons Podcast ) pic.twitter.com/fZlxOOoVK8
Acquiring DeRozan and Vucevic would give the Lakers a new look around LeBron and AD. DeRozan gives Los Angeles another elite scorer who could be a dangerous third option next to the star duo but lacks consistent three-point shooting.
Vucevic would provide shooting and be a stretch big for LA. He would also allow Davis to slide to the power forward position, which he has preferred throughout his career. Although Vucevic is not at the All-Star level he was back in the 2020-21 season, he would be a quality big for the Lakers.
Should the Lakers trade Russ and their 2 picks for DeRozan and Vucevic?— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) December 8, 2022
It would be risky for the Lakers, as this trade would send Westbrook and their two tradeable first-round picks in 2027 and 2029.
The front office would have to be confident that this trade would work out as it is sacrificing two potentially valuable picks for the future. They would also be sending away Westbrook, who has had a resurgence with his role coming off the bench.
The big three experiment for the Lakers has not been perfect, and trying it again would be extremely risky. On paper, DeRozan and Vucevic would give the team more firepower and play valuable roles alongside LeBron and AD, though the risk may not be worth it as it could mess up LA’s future. We’ll see what Rob Pelinka does for the Lakers as they look to get back in contention.