Lakers Notes: Trade Deadline, Center, Caruso

Several key Lakers contributors, including Dennis Schröder, Alex Caruso, and Talen Horton-Tucker are up for new deals this offseason, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said in the latest episode of The Woj Pod that he has the sense the team would like to move some long-term money off its books to create more flexibility to re-sign those players.

“I do think they would like to free up some of that money they owe down the line to put themselves in position to keep the guys they have there,” Wojnarowski said, per RealGM. “I think that’s kind of at the center of some of their talks here around the trade deadline.”

While Woj didn’t specifically name Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as players the Lakers are discussing in trades, he observed that they’re the non-stars on the roster who have multiyear contracts. Kuzma would be tricky to move this year because he has a contract extension going into effect in 2021/22, so if L.A. wants to move some long-term money, KCP could be the team’s top trade candidate by default.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic breaks down the defensive performance of Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell, weighing whether the Lakers need to pursue a center upgrade via trade or on the buyout market. Buha contends that the concerns about the club’s interior defense have been overblown and that the return of Anthony Davis could sufficiently address the issue.
  • Lakers guard Alex Caruso, who has missed the team’s last two games, has been cleared from the NBA’s concussion protocol and will be available vs. Charlotte on Thursday night, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin relays (via Twitter).
  • In case you missed it, the Lakers are reportedly among the teams to watch if free agent Isaiah Thomas gets another NBA opportunity.
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