Lakers veterans Brandon Bass, Nick Young and Lou Williams are available on the trade market, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. So, too, is Roy Hibbert, Stein writes, advancing an earlier report from Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders that the Lakers are looking to trade the center to a likely playoff team. It’s all seemingly a recognition of the inevitable for the Lakers front office, with the team just one loss behind the Sixers in the Reverse Standings and legitimate hope of a playoff berth dashed. All except Hibbert have at least one year left on their respective contracts, as Stein points out, though Bass could hit free agency this summer if he turns down his $3.135MM player option for next season.
Bass has taken a reduced role since signing with the Lakers this past offseason, coming off the bench in all 40 appearances and averaging 18.0 minutes per game after making 43 starts and playing 23.5 minutes a night last year with the Celtics. Brad Stevens remains a fan, though he’s not quite the star target the Celtics have long been coveting.
It’s no surprise to see Young on the block, since the Lakers reportedly explored the market for him this past summer before retreating from the effort, having found no worthwhile offers. Young said he found the trade rumors “confusing” and “motivating”, and he’s seen his playing time cut drastically. The 30-year-old who’s making more than $5.219MM this season is averaging only 7.7 points in 19.1 minutes per game, his lowest numbers in either category since 2007/08, his rookie season. Young’s contract runs through 2017/18, a player option year.
The free agent acquisition of Williams helped marginalize Young in the Lakers rotation. The NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year is having the best season statistically among those the team has apparently placed on the market, averaging the same 15.5 points per game he did last year. He signed a three-year, $21MM deal this past summer.
It’s unclear exactly what the Lakers want in exchange for their veterans, though presumably they’re looking for assets that could help them next season and beyond. They’re only barely above the salary cap with about $72MM in team salary, so cost-cutting is unlikely a major concern.
Who or what do you think the Lakers should target in return for their vets? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.