3 Los Angeles Lakers Who Are Most Likely to Be Traded

Jonathan Sherman
7 Min Read

After a somewhat rocky start to the 2018-19 season, the Los Angeles Lakers have won three straight games and seem to be on the right track. For the first time this season, they have a winning record (7-6), and if the season ended today, they would make the playoffs. But simply making the playoffs is not the extent of the Lakers’ lofty expectations.

The Lakers want to the compete for titles. If not this season, then certainly next season and the following seasons to come. With LeBron James signed through the 2012-22 season, their current window will last about as long as his prime does. What fans and experts know about the NBA, however, is that no star can do it alone.

Knowing that, it stands to reason that the Lakers will continue to try to attract stars to Los Angeles to play alongside the four-time MVP. Depending on how this season progresses, Lakers team president Magic Johnson may not want to wait until next summer to try to bring free agents to L.A. He may want to trade for them now.

So, if the Lakers do decide to target stars in the coming months via trade, who are the most likely players currently on the roster to be traded? There are three clear frontrunners.

1. Moritz Wagner

Moritz Wagner Lakers

The Lakers have always been great at acquiring talent in the NBA draft. Last spring’s first-round pick, University of Michigan product Wagner is no exception. In his final season with the Wolverines, he led them to an NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament championship game appearance. The German national averaged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He also shot 52.8 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from deep.

While he would undoubtedly be a valuable addition to the Lakers if they were looking to add to their young core, Los Angeles may be better suited using Wagner as a trade asset to bring in an established star.

What makes Wagner such an attractive piece for teams across the league is that he is another example of a big man who can stretch the court. At 6-foot-10, he certainly has the length to bang inside on both sides of the court, but is also more than comfortable shooting spot-up threes and creating on his own on the offensive end.

Beyond that, he also showed throughout his collegiate career that he is more than willing to play the role emotional leader for a squad.

In some ways, it would be sad to say goodbye to a player with so much promise, but if trading Wagner means the Lakers can bring an established star to Los Angeles, it would be well worth it.

2. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Lakers

The Lakers made some pretty questionable acquisitions this offseason, but one that was clearly a wise decision was re-signing Caldwell-Pope. Last season, Caldwell-Pope had one of the best seasons of his career and proved that he is a viable 3-and-D player.

Last season, he averaged 13.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, but there is one clear reason why he is firmly on the list of players the Lakers might trade. That reason goes by the name of Josh Hart. Hart’s progression has led to him basically taking over Caldwell-Pope’s role, and while Hart is averaging 26.8 minutes per game, KCP is averaging just 18.6.

Still, the lack of minutes does not indicate that there aren’t teams around the league who could certainly use his versatility and length at the shooting guard position.

On top of that, the fact that Caldwell-Pope is on a one-year deal means that he could easily be used as filler in a trade to make salaries match. Since he’s on an expiring deal, teams won’t have to worry about the long-term implications of welcoming Caldwell-Pope to their roster.

3. Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball Los Angeles Lakers

Will the Ball experiment in Los Angeles come to an end? At the moment, there is no way to know, but there is no doubt that if the Lakers want to trade for premier talent, they are going to have to part ways with some of the young stars that make up their young core.

The fact that Ball is the most likely of their young players to be traded is not a sign of what the organization thinks of the second-year point guard, but instead is a product of Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma seemingly being off the table. Over the past two seasons, Ingram has been held out of trade talks. It seems Kuzma is off limits as well.

Despite the criticism, Ball has already proven that he has the potential to be an elite playmaker with the size and speed to easily get to the rim from the point guard position.

The main reason Ball would end up getting traded is if he were to be a part of a deal that would bring an established All-Star to Los Angeles. There have been whispers that players like Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Bradley Beal, John Wall, and James’ former teammate Kevin Love could be on the Lakers’ wish list. If one or more of these players are to end up in Los Angeles before season’s end, it stands to reason that Ball’s days in L.A. could be numbered.

Share This Article
Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.