The Lakers are “leaning toward” trading “some combination of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and picks (one first-round and/or multiple second-round picks) for role players” in order to upgrade the rotation, multiple team sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
Going that route would still give the Lakers the flexibility to move Russell Westbrook and another first-rounder closer to the deadline, Buha writes.
The Lakers are still contemplating offering a Westbrook and pick(s) package to land a “star or multi-player haul,” according to Buha, but that option is considered less likely than a smaller deal involving Beverley and/or Nunn plus picks.
Buha reported earlier this week that the Lakers are looking to upgrade their perimeter shooting and size. Any deal(s) would likely occur after December 15, when most free agents signed in the offseason become trade-eligible.
Considering the Lakers have an excess of small guards on their roster and Beverley and Nunn are the only players aside from Lonnie Walker who aren’t on minimum- or maximum-salary contracts, it’s only natural that they might try to use them as trade chips. That’s especially true since both have struggled mightily in 2022/23 — Beverley is averaging just 4.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.7 APG and 0.9 SPG on .268/.234/.824 shooting in 15 games (27.1 MPG), while Nunn is averaging 5.8 PPG, 1.4 RPG and 1.3 APG on .364/.291/.889 shooting in 18 games (13.9 MPG).
It’s a little shocking just how poorly Beverley has shot the ball early on, since he’s a career 37.5% three-point shooter over 541 regular season games — his 23.4% mark is almost certain to rise with time. Similarly, Nunn shot 36.4% from deep in his first two seasons with Miami prior to missing all of last season with a knee injury, but he hasn’t looked right since he returned in 2022/23.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin suggested on Monday that the Lakers might dangle the expiring contracts of Beverley ($13MM) and Nunn ($5.25MM). Combining their salaries would allow the Lakers to take on up to $22.9MM in salary, since they’re in the tax.