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The Los Angeles Lakers once again find themselves at the center of discussion ahead of the NBA trade deadline. Considering the team’s 22–23 record and inability to get (and stay) over the .500 mark, it’s not a surprise.
But what has been noteworthy is the number of players linked to the Lakers in various reports or rumors, which highlights numerous different avenues the franchise could choose to go.
On Wednesday, two potential trades that could make sense for the Lakers were put together by ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks, and they highlight specifically how different the possible paths can look for Rob Pelinka and company. A similarity between the two deals is the inclusion of D’Angelo Russell, who’s been mentioned frequently as the deadline approaches but is also playing at an incredibly high level while putting together one of the best months of his career.
Trade No. 1: Two Impact Players From Brooklyn Nets
Lakers receive: Dorian-Finney Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie
Nets receive: D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura and 2029 first-round pick (top-14 protected)
The first trade idea put together by Marks takes the route of protecting their first-round pick in a situation where the Lakers land in the lottery in 2029, which would be a great move by the front office. But it also features a duo of Russell and Rui Hachimura, two players who entered the season expected to make an above-average impact, which hasn’t necessarily been the case for the latter.
Hachimura, while averaging a modest 11.1 points per game, has struggled to build off the glimpses of upside he showcased last season, specifically during the postseason. He’s averaging the fewest rebounds per game of his career (3.5) and second-fewest shot attempts per game (nine) this season.
In exchange, the Lakers would target two players with upside in Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith. Both would be great additions to the rotation. However, Dinwiddie is in the midst of his worst statistical season since 2020-21, the final year of the guard’s first stint with the Brooklyn Nets. He’s averaging 13.2 points on 39.5% shooting and his assists per game have dipped to 6.0 from 9.1 last season.
The upside of both players, along with Finney-Smith’s outside shooting ability and defending, makes this a solid trade for the Lakers. If Dinwiddie can regain last season’s form, it’d have the potential to make a high-level impact down the stretch of the season.
Trade No. 2: Acquiring Dejounte Murray From Atlanta Hawks
Lakers receive: Dejounte Murray
Hawks receive: Russell, Jalen Hood-Schifino and a 2029 top-eight protected first-round pick
This deal from Marks makes sense on the surface, as it sends a young guard in rookie first-round pick Jalen Hood-Schifino to the Atlanta Hawks, along with a first-rounder and D’Angelo Russell. The only issue may come from the fact that the Hawks reportedly aren’t interested in adding Russell and would want a third team involved for the 27-year-old guard, per Marc Stein via The Stein Line.
But it’s an intriguing idea to add Hood-Schifino, a 20-year-old guard who’s flashed plenty of potential during a brief one-year stint in college at Indiana and over six games in the 2023 NBA Summer League. The former Hoosiers guard averaged 13.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals in summer league. Whether his potential upside would be enough to move the needle for Atlanta could ultimately make or break this deal as a realistic possibility.
The consensus here, though, feels like the Hawks could push for more from the Lakers (and any other potential suitor). Their lack of interest in Russell has to be a major hit to the likelihood that a deal like this gets done as well.