Trades Lakers can make using 17th overall pick

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

According to Jovan Buha, the Lakers are looking to trade the 17th overall pick in the draft. This is considered a weak draft class, which makes trading the pick for an upgrade on the roster a good idea from the front office.

Buha also reported that LA may move their other two first-round picks. With that in mind, let’s look at some trades the Lakers can make using the 17th overall pick.

Bulls receive: Jalen Hood-Schifino, Gabe Vincent, the 17th overall pick, and a 2026 first-round pick swap

Lakers receive: Alex Caruso

If LA goes the role-player route, Alex Caruso is a name to look out for. Caruso was highly impactful for the Lakers during their 2020 championship run.

Caruso made the All-Defensive First Team last season and will likely make an All-Defensive Team again this season. 

The 30-year-old guard is an elite point-of-attack defender and an efficient three-point shooter. He averaged 10/4/4 on 47/41/76 shooting splits. 

Caruso is one of the best defensive guards in the league, a quality three-point shooter, and a solid playmaker. He already has chemistry with LeBron James and Anthony Davis and would be a significant upgrade to their rotation.

Trading away a young player in Jalen Hood-Schifino, the contract of Gabe Vincent, the 17th overall pick, and a 2026 first-round pick swap could be enticing for Chicago.

They rejected an offer of two first-round picks at the deadline for Caruso, but this deal may get it done.

Nets receive: Rui Hachimura, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and the 17th overall pick

Lakers receive: Cameron Johnson

Another role player whom the LakeShow could target as a better fit is Cameron Johnson. Johnson is another forward, but his strengths lie in his versatility as a defender and three-point shooter.

This differs from Rui Hachimura, who tends to struggle defensively. Although he has become a reliable three-point shooter, it’s not the main aspect of his game.
Johnson would fit a lot better as an elite shooter alongside James and Davis. His defense would also make the team more balanced. The 28-year-old averaged 13/4/2 on 45/39/79 shooting splits.

Johnson has three years remaining on a four-year $94.5 million deal. An offer of Hachimura, a young player in Hood-Schifino, and a draft pick could be enticing to Brooklyn, who went 32-50 this season.

If the Lakers are looking to come up with a role player who fits better, Johnson could be an option.

Cavs receive: Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Jalen Hood-Schifino, the 17th overall pick, a 2026 first-round pick swap, a 2029 first-round pick, and a 2031 first-round pick

Lakers receive: Donovan Mitchell

If the Lakers go for the third-star route, Donovan Mitchell should be their top target. Mitchell is one of the best young guards in basketball. 

The 27-year-old is entering the final year of his deal, and if the Cleveland Cavaliers are eliminated in the second round, a trade could be on the horizon.

Mitchell averaged 27/5/6 with 1.8 steals per game. He had shooting splits of 46/37/87 shooting splits. 

Mitchell’s scoring and shooting ability make him a great fit now next to James and Davis and a long-term fit next to Davis in the post-LeBron era.

However, acquiring Mitchell would be costly. Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura are quality role players who they would have to give up. They could also send Hood-Schifino as a young player for the Cavs to take a chance on. It would also cost LA a ton of draft capital, including three first-round picks and a pick swap. 

This offer may not be enough, as if Mitchell becomes available, multiple teams will be in the mix. Regardless, Mitchell should be the target if they’re going for a third star.

Jazz receive: Rui Hachimura, Jalen Hood-Schifino, the 17th overall pick, a 2026 first-round pick swap, and a 2029 first-round pick

Lakers receive: Lauri Markkanen

An option that hasn’t been talked about much is Utah Jazz star Lauri Markkanen. The 26-year-old forward has played extremely well over the last two years, including an All-Star season.

This season, Markkanen averaged 23/8/2 on 48/40/90 shooting splits. He is a high-quality scorer and very efficient from three. He would fit well offensively next to James and Davis as another shot-creator. 

At seven feet, Markkanen has the size to rise up over anyone for a shot. He is another player who could help LA right now and fit with Davis as a co-star in the future.

Markkanen is an adequate defender, but the offense is what he would bring to the table. 

However, the likelihood of acquiring Markkanen is low. He is the building block for the Utah Jazz, and they will likely build their team around him rather than trade him away.

If he becomes available, the Lakers could be in the mix.

Hawks receive: Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, the 17th overall pick, a 2026 first-round pick, and a 2029 first-round pick

Lakers receive: Trae Young

The Purple and Gold are also linked to Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young. Young averaged 26/3/11 on 43/37/86 shooting splits.

He is a great scorer and playmaker but a liability on the defensive end. Young could be a long-term fit with Davis, but sacrificing so much depth for a big three is questionable. 

A trade for Young would be costly, but it seems less likely. Young changed agencies from Klutch Sports (where LeBron is represented) to CAA Sports, making a trade less likely, and the front office doesn’t seem keen on trading for him.

Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office have a ton of potential moves to make. Many possibilities are open, including trading the 17th overall pick and possibly their other two tradeable first-round picks. 

It will be interesting to see if they go for a third star route or add more depth to their rotation.

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