The perfect Lakers trade offer for OG Anunoby
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The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly monitoring the Toronto Raptors as a team that could be sellers at the trade deadline. The Lakers have lost five of their last six games and could be active at the deadline to try and fill some needs on the roster.
The Raptors (12-18) have been the center of trade rumors for quite some time and have some intriguing young players that could help the Lakers. Perhaps the most attractive trade piece on the Raptors is shooting guard OG Anunoby.
Anunoby (26) is an all-around player who would be a great addition to the Lakers. He is widely recognized for his defensive ability, as he was the NBA steals leader in 2022-2023 and earned All-Defensive Second-Team Honors
Anunoby is also having a solid season offensively so far, averaging 15PPG off of 49% shooting from the field and 37% from three. He could immediately plug into the Lakers backcourt as a high-end three-and-d contributor with point guard D’Angelo Russell.
One gambling site (Ontario bets) has the Lakers among the “favorites” to land OG Anunoby. He’s someone I have my eye on this deadline. pic.twitter.com/le0t6NxNR3— Anthony F. Irwin (@AnthonyIrwinLA) December 15, 2023
Speaking of Russell, he was involved in a trade for Anunoby that I suggested in a previous article. However, Anunoby’s defensive skill set makes him a perfect fit next to Russell.
The new starting lineup has struggled, and adding a defensive player who can also space the floor would allow Russell to return to the starting lineup or Austin Reaves to step into that role.
With Russell struggling defensively this year, Anunoby could match up with the opposing team’s best guard and allow Russell to strictly focus on being a playmaker and spot-up shooter for the offense.
Anunoby would not come cheap, as a trade would almost surely have to include one of the Lakers' young players going back to Toronto. Furthermore, he is in the last year of his deal, meaning the Lakers would have to make a decision on a contract extension in the offseason.
Taking this into account, here is the perfect OG Anunoby trade offer for the Lakers.
Raptors receive: Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, and a 2029 unprotected first-round pick
Lakers receive: OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa
*Note: Hachimura is ineligible to be traded until January 15th, as he re-signed this offseason using bird rights.
With this trade, the Lakers would undoubtedly be going all-in on the 2023 season.
In addition to OG Anunoby, the Lakers would also acquire backup big Precious Achiuwa. This would fill a big need for the Lakers, as Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood have both been wildly inconsistent this season.
Achiuwa has the ability to guard all five positions and protect the rim. He is also a plus rebounder and is averaging 8 PPG off of 46% shooting. Achiuwa has one year remaining on his deal, meaning that he would be eligible for a rookie-scale extension at the end of the year.
It hurts to give up Rui Hachimura, who proved last year that he could be a valuable piece to the Lakers core. However, the Lakers already have plenty of forward depth in Jarred Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish, and Taurean Prince, making him an expendable trade piece on the roster.
Financially, Gabe Vincent’s contract would need to be included in order to make the deal work. With Vincent's injury, he is out for two more months and unlikely to have a major impact on the team this season.
Max Christie and rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino could get more minutes at guard or the front office could make another trade to sure up that spot.